Yasir Mabrouk Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A senior official from the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) has applauded the strength and depth of flat racing at Jebel Ali Racecourse during the 2018-2019 season.

Close to a 100 horses will be seen in action at the course this weekend, where four of the seven races on the card have attracted the maximum field of 16 runners, in addition to a large number of reserves.

“This is by far the biggest fields we’ve seen for Jebel Ali racecourse this season, and perhaps for a long time,” said Yasir Mabrouk, a pioneering racing administrator in the UAE, ERA Clerk of the Scale and ERA Master of Apprentices.

“The cards have both depth and quality and I’m sure we can look forward to a competitive afternoon’s racing.

“The Shadwell Farm conditions event for two-year-olds and three-year-olds looks a particularly interesting race and it answers the call for more races for younger horses at Jebel Ali,” Mabrouk added.

“Many of the horses are lightly raced or even unraced, but many of them are well bred and should run well, even at this early stage in their careers.”

Mabrouk acknowledged that the increase in numbers was down to a lot of factors, most notably the success of the Godolphin Horse Sales conducted by the ERA.

“Racing in the UAE has largely benefited from the horse sales. The Godolphin sales have injected a good number of horses to the racing community in the country,” said Mabrouk. “In addition to that we have a lot of new owners, people who are showing a lot of interest in the sport.

“We also have the popular racing syndicates, like the Phoenix Thoroughbred Sydicate and its Ladies Syndicate, in addition to the EERC Syndicate who showed that owning horses in the UAE is not so difficult, is a lot of fun and rewarding,” he added.

“We hope to see fields like the one at Jebel Ali Racecourse this weekend at other racecourses in the UAE as well.”

One of the highlights of Friday’s card is the third leg of the Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Challenge for Purebred Arabians, sponsored by Al Sahel Contracting, which has drawn a full field of 16 runners and four reserves.

Dubai Duty Free return to Jebel Ali Racecourse as the sponsor of a very competitive-looking handicap over 1600 metres.

Masmin Micoyco, Assistant Manager, Projects & Events at Dubai Duty Free said: “It is well documented that Dubai Duty Free promotes sports, and horses racing in particular, both at the domestic and international level.

“We are delighted to be sponsoring a race at Jebel Ali on such a competitive looking day.”