Benbatl lit up UAE racing in the 2019-20 season. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: In what will be sweet music to horse racing fans in the country, and around the world, the calendar for the 2020-2021 UAE season was released by the Emirates Racing Authority on Thursday.

For the first time in its history, the new season will start and conclude at Al Ain Racecourse with the opening meeting scheduled for October 29, 2020. The final meeting will take place on April 9, 2021.

The fixture list, which boasts 66 race meetings at the UAE’s five racecourses including Meydan, Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain, has been approved by Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Emirates Racing Authority (ERA).

Shaikh Mansoor said: “We are pleased to announce the ERA Race Fixture for the racing season 2020-21, which will provide the owners, trainers and fans an integrated season on the UAE’s five racecourses.

“Through this fixture, we offer local and international races for the thoroughbred and Arabian horses”.

Jebel Ali Racecourse and Sharjah Longines Racecourse will commence their seasons on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31 respectively.

Meydan Racecourse, home to the Dubai World Cup and the Dubai World Cup Carnival, gets under way on November 5, while Abu Dhabi Racecourse will commence their season on Sunday, November 8.

Meydan’s season will have 19 meets, Abu Dhabi 15, Al Ain 14, Jebel Ali 11 and Sharjah 7.

The popular Dubai World Cup Carnival, comprising ten high-quality international race meetings, will commence on January 7, 2021 and will culminate with the Dubai World Cup on March 27, 2021.

Due to COVID-19 situation and with the health and safety of the participants the ERA called off the 2019-2020 UAR racing season just before the $30 million Dubai World Cup meeting in March.

In addition race meetings scheduled for Al Ain Racecourse on April 2 and April 9, Jebel Ali Racecourse on April 3 and Meydan Racecourse on April 3 and April 10 were cancelled.

At A Glance

66 - Race meetings at 5 racecourses

October 29 - Season opens at Al Ain

March 27, 2021 - 25th Anniversary of the Dubai World Cup

Jan 7, 2021 - Dubai World Cup Carnival Starts

April 9, 2021 - Final race meeting of the season