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A trial race in progress at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Monday morning. Image Credit: Atiq-ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Jebel Ali Racecourse passed a crucial test aimed at assessing its track condition on Monday morning and was immediately cleared to resume racing activities starting on Friday (January 24).

The historic venue, which has played a major role in helping to put UAE racing on the world map, had been temporarily closed by the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) following concerns by jockeys over the track’s levels of kick-back.

However, following an official trial featuring 13 horses, the track was declared suitable for racing.

In an official statement, the ERA thanked Jebel Ali Racecourse for addressing the concerns that led to three race meetings being cancelled during the 2019-2020 UAE racing season.

“Jebel Ali Racecourse has always been a valued Club for the Racing Industry in the United Arab Emirates and their continued support in striving to provide a safe track, for both jockeys and horses is welcomed by the ERA,” said the statement.

“The ERA and Jebel Ali Racecourse will continue to monitor the track surface in the upcoming race-meetings, working together to provide the best possible surface for the Racing Industry,” the statement concluded.

Shareef Al Halawani, Jebel Ali Racecourse’s long-serving manager, was elated with the developments and said: “This is fantastic news, not just for Jebel Ali Racecourse, but for all our patrons, sponsors and fans who have been with us for over 26 years.

“We now look forward positively to bringing Jebel Ali Racecourse to the forefront of UAE racing and we will adhere to raise the standards of the track to ensure that it is among the best surfaces in the world.

“Jebel Ali has always been a favourite among some of the best jockeys and trainers in the world because it was always a challenging but fair track to race on,” Al Halawani added.

“Some of the most memorable races have be staged at our racecourse and we hope that once racing resumes this weekend, fans in the UAE and around the world, will be once again treated to the thrilling finishes that the venue is renowned for.”

Jebel Ali Racecourse was built in 1990 under the directives of Major General Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, who is one of the world’s leading owner/breeders of racehorses.