Mirza Al Sayegh attends a press conference at Jebel Ali Racecourse. Image Credit: Leslie Wilson Jr/Gulf News

Dubai: Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, has hailed Jebel Ali Racecourse for its role in creating many future champions of the turf.

Speaking on behalf of Shaikh Hamdan, Mirza Al Sayegh, the director of Shaikh Hamdan’s Office, said that his passion and continuous support for the racecourse has been fuelled by many factors.

But perhaps none more than the performances of horses who have benefited greatly from running at the course, which with its unique up-hill finish and sharp bends, represents a real test to both horse and jockey.

“Jebel Ali Racecourse caught the attention of Shaikh Hamdan a long time ago,” Al Sayegh said on Tuesday.

“It’s a very challenging track but one from which horses have been known to benefit. Shaikh Hamdan has had many good winners at Jebel Ali who have gone on to succeed on the world stage.”

Al Sayegh also reiterated that Shaikh Hamdan’s love for the sport, and racecourses like Jebel Ali, knows no bounds.

“Shaikh Hamdan has been a long-time supporter and patron of Jebel Ali Racecourse, which he has a lot of respect for,” he said. “He is committed to sponsoring all the major races run at the track to ensure that it retains its high status.”

Al Sayegh also renewed his call to the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) to introduce a racing programme allowing two-year-olds to run at the venue.

“There is a big emphasis on juveniles and two-year-olds in Europe,” he said. “There is also an increase in their population.

“Shaikh Hamdan would love to send some of his youngsters to Dubai and to race, possibly at Jebel Ali. I’m asking the authorities to look into the matter and hopefully you will see a whole of lot of exciting young horses competing here.

“When they return to Europe, they will have racing fitness on their side and the experience as well. This is a big plus.”

Al Sayegh was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference at Jebel Ali Racecourse to announce the sponsors of Friday’s race meeting.

He also welcomed new sponsor Dubai Refreshments (PJSC) on board saying: “We are delighted to have a prestigious company like Dubai Refreshments support Jebel Ali Racing.

“I encourage more companies to join us and help making racing even better here.”