Racing-Jebel Ali
A newly modified track at Jebel Ali Racecourse will host the 2020-21 season with all the safety protocols in place. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Dubai: Jebel Ali Racecourse management, together with the Emirates Racing Authority, are looking forward to the launch of the 2020-21 season with wide-eyed optimism.

There will be expectations to be more mindful and resilient in view of the pandemic but there is an air of excitement that prevails, as was evident during an official press conference held at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Tuesday morning.

With no media in attendance, but attended by all the senior officials of the racecourse, it principal sponsor Shadwell and the ERA, Racecourse Manager Sherif Al Halawani called on the general public to show patience and continue to support the racing. “As we approach the start of the 2020-2021 UAE horseracing season, we hope that under the patronage and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Major General Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security and our chief patron Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, the new season will be a success.

“Jebel Ali racecourse management also extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to Sheikh Hamdan for his continuous support as the main supporter of Jebel Ali by sponsoring all the races on the opening race day on Friday (October 30).

We are all very excited to see racing return to Jebel Ali, even if in a different form without spectators. It is not ideal, but under the circumstances it is necessary

- Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of the Office of Sheikh Hamdan

“Today we announce the opening of this season in a different way and keeping in line with the global health situation. We are committed to the precautionary measures at the highest level to ensure the safety of jockeys, trainers, officials and horses at each meeting,” he added.

“Unfortunately public will not be permitted to attend the races, but we would like to announce that all the popular competitions that Jebel Ali has become famous for, like the Pick Six, will be conducted online.”

As part of the measures to improve the standard of racing at the venue, the racetrack underwent further upgrading with the help of international experts and Al Halwani gave the track a big thumbs up.

“We are extremely satisfied with the status of the new racing surface which provides the perfect balance and guarantees fair and safe racing,” he said.

Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of the Office of Sheikh Hamdan, confirmed that Shadwell will do whatever it takes to support Jebel Ali Racecourse through this difficult and challenging time. “Shaikh Hamdan has assured Jebel Ali that he will continue to support all the feature races throughout the season at Jebel Ali, just as he has done all these years,” said Al Sayegh.

“We are all very excited to see racing return to Jebel Ali, even if in a different form without spectators. It is not ideal, but under the circumstances it is necessary.

“But the important thing is that the sport will continue with the very best horses, jockeys and trainers competing at Jebel Ali and we look forward to another great season.”

Yasir Mabrouk, representing the ERA, said that Jebel Ali Racecourse will receive all the required support from the racing officials who manage the sport in the UAE. “Jebel Ali Racecourse is one of the most popular venues in the country and the ERA is happy to support and encourage them to sustain the high standards that they are known for.

“We wish them luck and look forward to the return of some thrilling races every Friday.”