This FRIDAY’S Jebel Ali card is very much in keeping with the importance of the occasion at hand as the UAE prepares to celebrate its 48th National Day.Looking forward it will be interesting to see which trainer, rider, owner combinations head into the long weekend beaming joyfully after winning on the seven race card, which boasts of two handicaps that are identical in conditions and prize money but will be raced over different trips. The sprint to be run over a distance of 1200m has been underlined as the feature event on the card and is sponsored by Romeo Interiors, while the other, sponsored by Emirates NBD, will be run over a distance of 1600m.
Pick Seven players are assured to start arriving late Friday morning for this ever popular National Day meeting, long before the 1.45pm first race, undoubtedly encouraged by the 130 valuable prizes to be raffled throughout the afternoon with the first draw scheduled for midday. Considering the magnitude of the occasion being celebrated, the meeting is designated as a ‘Festival Fixture’ so an extra 18,000 free gifts will be distributed at the entrance gates at what may consider the UAE’s most popular racecourse. The Jebel Ali Racecourse management invited all members of the media, written and television, to a press conference on Tuesday at the racecourse, to reveal all the details ahead of the eagerly anticipated fixture.
The overall Pick Seven fund on offer this week is an enticing Dh45,500 with the Double Tricast rolling up to Dh20,000 as part of a prize competition grand total of Dh90,000. As mentioned, considered by many as their favourite UAE racecourse, Jebel Ali is always well attended with the car parks filling up from early morning before the gates are thrown open to greet the public, two hours before the first race. Each attendee will be issued an aforementioned raffle ticket offering them, among other prizes, 130 valuable gifts and not to mention the extra 18,000 gifts to be distributed upon arrival. Those attending Jebel Ali for the first time in a while, please note the early start time, altered to facilitate the running of the seventh race in daylight.
A big, enthusiastic crowd is guaranteed to savour what is often described as a ‘tea party’ atmosphere with plenty of picnicking families, but the Pick Seven players are knowledgeable and will be poring over their copies of Al Adiyat, looking for that vital insight when seeking to win their share of a whopping Dh90,000 on offer this week in the tipping competitions. Speaking on behalf of Romeo Interiors, Eng. Nader Nashed said it was a privilege to have the opportunity to sponsor the feature race. “We helped build this racecourse and now to have an opportunity to sponsor a race here on UAE National Day weekend is a real privilege. “We have been associated with Jebel Ali Racecourse for a very long time and racing here is always of the top quality and I would like to thank Sheikh Ahmed for giving us this opportunity to be part of the coming weekend’s racing programme here.”
Racecourse manager Shareef Al Halawani added: “We have been active promoters of racing in the UAE at Jebel Ali Racecourse and this week’s card is a tough one with some really good races featuring good horses. “The best trainers and owners send their horses to race here and we consider that an honour and a certificate that we are doing very well as a racecourse. “We have something for everybody and this year since there are seven races the national day entertainment programmes might be before the racing begins, but, as I say, we have something for everybody and going racing here is like a picnic.” Yasir Mabrouk of the ERA said: “Jebel Ali boasts of the best numbers in terms of runners with an average of about 10.5 horses per race which is very good and we have two very good races this weekend that feature some very good horses. “
Racing is always top class here and the crowd that attends is kept entertained with all the other activities that complement the racing. The racecourse has a very family friendly feel and the organisers always do a very good job of making sure everything goes well on and off the track.” Nicholas Bachalard, who trains on the track for racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed saddles five runners on the card, including Call To War and Yalawin in the 1200m handicap. The French conditioner has Tobrave in the 1400m maiden which gets the card underway, while Raakezz takes his chance in the 1000m maiden for juveniles. Bachalard sends out Top Clearance in the 1600m handicap, which is the penultimate race on the card.
Bachalard said: “Go To War if he behaves in the gate hopefully he should run a good race, but there are a few good horses in it. We have another horse in the race called Yalawin who hasn’t run in over two years so we just want to give him a race and see how he fares and try to set him up for Meydan in a month or so. “We have Raakezz in the 2yo race and he’s just starting and hopefully he’ll run a good race. He’s drawn outside and not that it matters much here but inside would have been better for him probably. “Top Clearance we are cutting him back in distance. He was running at a mile but he hasn’t been finishing his races and he wears blinkers and drops back from a mile so that should help him hopefully.” As mentioned, Romeo Interiors back the main race this week with the sponsorship roll completed by Dubai Real Estate Centre, Al Shafar Investment, ASCANA (Arabian & Scandinavian Insurance Company), Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates NBD and School Transport Services.
Combined, the seven races are worth Dh605,000. As always, the Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship (DIAHC) are donating Dh1,000 to the groom of the horse adjudged the ‘best turned out’ in each race, a total of Dh7,000 this week. To reiterate, there will be 130 valuable gifts and prizes allocated to the public throughout the day, via a raffle and lucky winning ticket holders also have the chance of winning 25 cash gifts of Dh400 apiece, a total of Dh10,000 with that particular draw conducted after the final race. The gates, where free raffle tickets and 18,000 extra free gifts await, open at 10am and the first raffle draw, for 20 of the most valuable prizes, will be made at 12 noon. For Dh10 you can buy the chance to win a Cherry Arrizo3 car, with the winners drawn after the final race, while it is worth reiterating the Pick Seven and other selection competitions offer a combined total prize of Dh90,000.
As always, the bulk of this is the Pick Seven fund which is Dh45,500 this week, so picking winners can be highly beneficial for any lucky attendee who can find all seven! The traditional free buses are provided from the car parks to the main entrance and special areas are allocated for ladies and families. With the usual big crowd expected, it is recommended to arrive in good time and savour the atmosphere as it builds ahead of the eagerly awaited first race.