AS JEBEL ALI RACECOURSE prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary, it opens a new chapter to add to its long history with racing hereafter scheduled to be hosted at the venue on Saturday. The shift from Friday afternoons to Saturday afternoons comes as a result of the Emirates Racing Authority’s (ERA) move to align the sport with the UAE Government’s decision to change the nation’s weekends to Saturday and Sunday.

As a result, henceforth, the ‘tea party’ moves to a Saturday. However, that is unlikely to dim the enthusiasm of a crowd that has for decades done its bit to make vibrant racing at a venue that offers a unique and true test of man and animal. This sixth meeting has been dubbed the ‘Deira’ and a seven race card is what awaits the thousands that are expected at the racecourse.

The total prize money on offer is set at Dh470,000, with a hefty chunk of Dh84,000 reserved for the feature event, which will this Saturday witness a strong field of divisional names in the 4yo and older class with a rating between 76 and 96 contest for the pot.

The aforementioned feature event is sponsored by Shadwell. In addition to them, Al Sahel Contracting Co., Al Shafar Investment, Al Huzaifa Furniture, Ascana and Commercial Bank of Dubai are part of the sponsorship roster, with Jebel Ali Racecourse also supporting a race.

The last named contest will be monikered to recognise the Pearl Anniversary. Race meetings at the UAE’s ‘family racecourse’ have always been well attended in the past, with enthusiastic crowds and Pick Six players intently poring over their copies of Al Adiyat, looking for vital insight to give them an added edge.

And although with the public health and safety protocols in place crowds attending will be limited to a maximum of 8,000 spectators, there will be no cap curtailing the excitement of racegoers attending the meeting.

A total of 100 gifts will be raffled during the course of the afternoon with those lucky to be called out standing to win gifts such as television sets, mobile phones and home appliances among others. This will be done via free coupons that will be distributed at the main entrance.

Ahmed Al Shehhi, Organising Committee Member of Jebel Ali Racecourse, said: “Saturday’s racing is of historical importance as it marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the racecourse by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“Jebel Ali Racecourse has become a pivotal fixture in the racing calendar of the UAE and over the years the track has contributed tremendously to racing in the Emirates with its high quality and competitive racing and facilities. “As Jebel Ali Racecourse celebrates I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to all our partners that have contributed over the past 30 years to help us raise the bar and play a crucial role in the development of the racing industry.

“The lofty status achieved by the track is thanks to the efforts and continuous support of its founder and patron Sheikh Ahmed.” Engineer Sharif Al Halawani, who has been with Jebel Ali Racecourse since its inception and is currently the manager of the facility, said: “This day reminds us of a long rich history of the racecourse. “It is a path that is full of successes that have been achieved as a result of the careful follow up and the insightful vision of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the founder and patron of the racecourse.

“This anniversary takes us back in time to 1991 and spans over three decades, during which time the track grew into one of the best destinations for racing here in the UAE. Owners, jockeys and trainers, and our loyal fans that have associated with us closely over the decades have truly made this a ‘family racecourse’.

“Today, we thank our partners in success for all the support and assistance they have given to the management of the track, which resulted in our rich history and our success. I thank the Emirates Racing Authority, which was and has always been with us and helped racing evolve, and the Dubai Horse Racing Information Center and Al Adiyat magazine, and everyone in these two institutions for playing a crucial role in the tremendous success achieved by us here at Jebel Ali Racecourse.”

As has become the norm, Jebel Ali Racecourse will award Dh1,000 to the groom of the horse judged the ‘best turned out’ in each race, with the total prize this week at Dh7,000. With a sizeable crowd expected to attend Saturday’s meeting, it is recommended to arrive in good time to complete all entry formalities and thereafter gain entry to savour the atmosphere ahead of the first race.

JARC Pearl Anniversary fan competition

To celebrate the Pearl Anniversary of Jebel Ali Racecourse (JARC), which marks its 30 years in UAE racing, JARC’s management will identify 30 fans that have attended race meetings at the venue over the years. To register for the competition, racegoers must register themselves at https://dhric.ae/register and then create a profile via the following link… https://dhric.ae/jebelali/profile