Shareef Al Halawani, Samuel Shinsky and other dignitaries during the press conference at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Tuesday.
Amir Naqvi, Sports Editor
The Jebel Ali Racecourse will host its final meeting which promises to be one of the more exciting cards of the season with the Shadwell sponsored Conditions Jebel Ali Classic (Silver Jubilee) topping the seven races framed for Friday.
The Jebel Ali Classic will be fought over a 1,400m distance and carries a prize purse of Dhs250,000. A number of top names will line up during the course of the Friday afternoon, particularly in the Jebel Ali Classic in the silks of UAE Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Makotum.
Three including Al Fareeq, Al Kaamel and Fanaar of the 16 in the field will carry his blue representing two different trainers in the form of Doug Watson and Musabbeh Al Mheiri.
Jebel Ali’s trainer Nicholas Bachalard has pinned hopes on Shamikh, who competing in the colours of Sheikh registered a poignant victory in the 1600m Pat Smullen Condition Stakes last month.
The Jebel Ali Racecourse management has also dedicated a race in the name of late Mohammed Taha, the Arabic editor of Al Adiyat magazine, who passed away in Dubai last year.
Taha had been associated with the sport since its inception in the UAE in the early nineties and was a pivotal member of the core management team behind the successful Dubai International Arabian Races (DIAR), created by Sheikh Hamdan.
Speaking during the press conference on Tuesday, Mirza Al Sayegh, the Director of the Office of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said: “Late Mohammed (Taha) has been a great friend of mine for 25 years and we have spent time together on many international trips during Sheikh Hamdan sponsored races in Australia and New Zealand, San Diego, US, Scotland, Holland and Germany.
“I take this opportunity to convey to his family and friends our sincere condolences and my personal loss in his passing.”
Mirza also lamented the absence of fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. The fans are part of the whole game and hope they will return to racecourses by next season.
He also thanked all the jockeys, owners and trainers who have contributed a lot towards the success of the season.
Samuel Shinsky, Chief Steward at Emirates Racing Authority, said: “”We look forward to an exciting seven-race card and to finish things off here at Jebel Ali for the season we have the Jebel Ali Classic (Silver Jubilee).
“It is a strong renewal of the race with a strong race full field. After looking back on the season we realise we are fortunate in the UAE to continue racing and have no cancellations at any of our tracks under these difficult circumstances,” he added.
Engineer Shareef Al Halawani, Director of Jebel Ali Racecourse, hailed the support of Sheikh Ahmed.
“Sheikh Ahmed always directs us to give every assistance to race fans, officials, owners, trainers and jockeys in addition to our key partners and sponsors of our races.
“Special thanks from Jebel Racecourse Management to Sheikh Hamdan for the great confidence reposed in Jebel Ali racecourse throughout the season.
“We would also like to pay tribute to the kind gesture of the Organising Committee of Sheikh Hamdan to name one of the races after the late journalist Mohammed Taha.
“It is one of the biggest race meetings of the season with the Jebel Ali Classic being contested and we eagerly await the action.
“Jebel Ali Racecourse has always been popular with the trainers and jockeys and , we can expect a lot of hot competition in the season ending race on Friday,” Halawani added.
Pat Smullen will be remembered at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, with the management holding a feature race in honour of Jebel Ali Stables’ former jockey and nine-time Irish champion, who passed away in September last year.
Action at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday will send pulses racing with the seven-race card bolstered by two Listed races in the shape of the Jebel Ali Stakes and Jebel Ali Sprint. Both the races carry attractive purses of Dh500,000 each in a card that has a
Dual Listed features at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday and the speedsters were first up in the 1000m Jebel Ali Sprint which proved a memorable event for trainer Doug Watson who not only saddled the winner, Al Tariq, but provided runner-up Fanaar for good measure.
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