Trials held at the new Meydan racing facility in advance of the Dubai Racing Carnival received a thumbs-up, according to the Dubai Racing Club.
The facility hosted four races the evening of Jan. 20. Forty-four horses and 16 jockeys competed in the events.
The Dubai Racing Carnival, a series of racing programs leading up to the March 27 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) program, begins Jan. 28. Simulcast of the races in North and South America will be handled by Kentucky-based AmWest Entertainment.
“We're geared up for the start of the Dubai International Racing Carnival and want to thank all horsemen, staff, and everyone who has been a partner to us for their support of Meydan and these trial races,” Dubai Racing Club chief executive officer Frank Gabriel Jr. said in a statement. “We look forward to the opening of the tracks and racing facilities for the first meeting Jan. 28.”
Club officials said jockeys Frankie Dettori, Ted Durcan, Richard Hills, Pat Smullen, Kevin Shea, and Kieren Fallon were amongst the first to ride at Meydan, which has a synthetic Tapeta surface for its main track, as well as a turf course.
“It’s just out of this world,” Dettori said. “The tracks are great and very even, and the lights are beautiful. I absolutely loved it.”
Tapeta surfaces are used for racing at Golden Gate Fields in California and Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Pennsylvania, as well as training facilities in the United States.
Said trainer Michael De Kock, a regular at the racing carnival: “We’ve received really positive feedback from the jockeys that the surface is fantastic. It was very good to have the trials as it was a good experience, especially to get a feel of the long walk from the barns and through the tunnels.”
AmWest Entertainment, based in Louisville, was tabbed by the Dubai Racing Club to handle simulcasts from Meydan, which replaces Nad Al Sheba racecourse. Racing will be held Jan. 28; Feb. 4, 5, 11, 18, 19, and 25; and March 4-5 and 27. First post is 9:45 a.m. EST (6:45 p.m. in Dubai).