Mohammad Al Shehhi and track experts discussing the racing surface at Jebel Ali Racecourse. Image Credit: Mohammad Al Shehhi Instagram

Dubai: Jebel Ali Racecourse management have said they will do whatever it takes to resolve the ‘kickback’ issue, which has led to the temporary suspension of racing activities at the venue.

Last Friday’s race meeting was cancelled in light of the feedback from several jockeys related to the unusual kickback that they had encountered at the previous race meeting on November 29.

In response, the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) carried out an inspection and trial race on December 13, following which it was confirmed that the track condition was not suitable for racing.

The ERA advised the racecourse management to address the issue.

As a precaution horse racing’s governing body in the UAE also said that before racing recommencing at the venue, the surface will have to pass a further official inspection.

Subsequently, Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, the director of the office of Maj. Gen. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security and owner of Jebel Ali Racecourse, said the issue was being treated as a top priority and specialist teams were attending to the matter.

He also revealed that Sheikh Ahmed said he respects the ERA decision and that track safety is of paramount importance to all concerned.

Al Shehhi stressed that a team of global racing experts were currently on the job working to develop sustainable and long-term solutions for the historic racetrack,

Meanwhile, Al Shehhi took to his Instagram account on Tuesday morning to post this message: “We started to work on the track, but [a certain level of] kickback will always be there.

“All in all the track is in good condition but we need the kickback safer and softer. We are on it.”

Before this he explained that the change in the track surface resulting in the severe kickback was a result of the drop in temperature which led to the drying of components in the soil.

“Sheikh Ahmed agrees that safety is of paramount importance and that a good surface guarantees a secure foundation for both horse and jockey.

“He has stressed that the maintenance programme should focus on ensuring that the surface is consistent, safe and fair.

“We have been brought in specialists and experts to find long term sustainable solutions while factoring the climatic conditions and unique nature of the racetrack,” Al Shehhi added.

“The track has served us well for over 25 years, with highest levels of safety and its versatility as it suits both turf and dirt horses. It is only the issue of increased kickback which has created the situation and is being rectified.”