Dubai: The efforts of the Jebel Ali Racecourse management to further improve the overall standards at the racecourse came in for generous praise from a senior Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) official ahead of Friday’s second race meeting of the season at the popular venue.
Speaking to members of the media at a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Sam Shinsky, ERA’s Chairman of Stewards, praised the racecourse authorities for addressing key issues and elevating the standard of the racetrack in particular to help it become a far more competitive and fair track to all the connections.
The historic racetrack, which was built almost three decades ago, ran into some rough weather last season when jockeys raised the issue of the ‘kick back’ forcing the ERA to suspend racing at the venue for a period between December 219 and January 2020.
However, following strategic redevelopment and maintenance work, racing resumed at the end of January.
“We look forward to getting back to Jebel Ali this week following the feedback we received from the riders last week, which was very good,” said Shinsky.
“Tts been a much talked about surface after what happened but the officials have worked very hard off season to try and resurrect the surface. The feedback has been very good and further to that the club has done a very good job in deal with the concerns caused by the Covid-19 virus by increasing the size of the jockey’s room and keeping trainers and owners separated through social distancing/
“The club has got to be congratulated for what they’ve done and after talking to Manager Shareef Al Halawani, and discussing plans moving forward into the 2020-2021 season, it’s been all good at Jebel Ali.”
Engineer Al Halawani, who was a key member of the pioneering team that built the racecourse in 1990 following the advice and instructions of Major General Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, thanked the ERA for their support and guidance.
‘As discussed before we (at Jebel Ali) are committed to keeping a high standard and perhaps maybe making it even better than before,” he said
“Since the first meeting last month we have made more improvements and we hope it will be even better. The surface mix will remain the same but it will need continuous maintenance as it takes it time to settle down.
“However, we are still willing to hear from the ERA, jockeys and trainers, so please keep giving us your feedback to help us get better.”
Shinsky offered more words of encouragement when he said that the feedback that the ERA has been receiving has been ‘encouraging.
“When the jockeys don’t complain it’s a good sign,” he said. “Yes the times are bit slower but it is not so much about running quick times, it’s about a safe surface to race on and we have managed to achieve that.
“Hopefully the track will quicken up as we go alone, but yes it’s the right step in the right direction.”
The press conference was attending by leading owner/ breeders Khalid Al Naboodha, ERA’s Yasir Mabrouk, officials, representatives of the sponsors.
Friday’s race meet will comprise of seven races, including a special conditions event sponsored by Shadwell, several handicaps and a race for Purebred Arabians.