MEYDAN RACECOURSE, DUBAI
The Tapeta track at Meydan racecourse will be replaced by dirt for the start of next season. Tapeta, the brainchild of former trainer Michael Dickinson, has been the artificial surface in place since racing began at Meydan four years ago. However, dirt was previously used at Dubai’s former flagship racecourse, Nad Al Sheba, and Meydan’s board of directors have decided to switch back ahead of next year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Saeed H Al Tayer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Meydan Group, said: “This is a decision that will be best for the future of Meydan racing and the Dubai World Cup Carnival. In the coming year we will celebrate the 20th running of the Dubai World Cup and the track will be the natural surface that proved so successful during the first 14 years of this magnificent race day.”
There is little doubt that the absence of US-trained runners in the 2014 running of the world’s richest race must have been a disappointment to the organisers. In the first five years of the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba, North America fielded 18 of the 53 runners. In the inaugural running in 1996 Cigar led home a US 1–2–3, Silver Charm won two years later, and the US finished second, third, fourth and fifth behind Singspiel in 1997, second and third behind Almutawakel in 1999 and second, third and fourth behind Dubai Millennium in 2000.
The story could hardly have been more different in the five years that the race has been held at Meydan. US- trained horses made up just nine of the 69 participants in that period and the versatile Animal Kingdom, already a winner on dirt, turf and Polytrack, has been their only runner to finish closer than fifth. Of the other 14 horses to finish in the first three in the race at Meydan, six were trained locally in Dubai (counting Godolphin as locals during their racing season), four in Britain, two in Japan and one each in France and South Africa, surely making the race the truly competitive, international event that it was intended to be.
Extract from European Bloodstock News