Author: Duane Fonseca

Recently appointed as chairman of both Dubai Racing Club and Dubai Equestrian Club, Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook bin Juma Al Maktoum spoke to the Emirates News Agency in detail on Monday. Al Adiyat consider the following to be the main and most relevant points and opinions he offered.

I take pride in the trust put in me by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. I am merely a member of a team that aims to take racing in the UAE to greater heights.

Sheikh Mohammed supports the youth and encourages thinking outside the box and seeking improvement and we must maintain positivity and not seek excuses in the face of hard times. Each member of the new management has a task to complete and our new policies will allow for space to make and implement new suggestions.

We will relieve stress and pressure from team members by allowing each member to focus on their tasks, with transparency imperative to ensuring a continuous improvement in the quality of work. We thank our current sponsors whom we have a special relationship with and many of them are long time sponsors.

It shows their dedication to supporting this horseracing and we welcome new sponsors in not only flat racing but also other areas such as Endurance riding.

Better veterinary care in Endurance

One of the changes we have already implemented is improving the level of veterinary care in Endurance racing and making sure that we have facilities and staff who are capable of providing the best level of care to horses in case of any accidents or mishaps.

Prize Money Increase Imperative

We must reassess prize money involved in the sport as that is a very important element of racing. The Dubai World Cup Carnival definitely needs more prize money in order to attract the best horses from around the world. Connections of the best horses in European and other international centres seek lucrative opportunities in terms of prize money to make sending their best runners worthwhile.

Improvisation of dirt surfaces

We will be listening to suggestions regarding the dirt tracks and will be trying to improve them. I myself have noticed some issues when my horses have competed on the dirt tracks here and improving this along with the prize money will be some of our top priorities. Once these two aspects are improved we will definitely get stronger and better runners from all over the world.

Dubai World Cup

We will aspire to further improve and develop the Dubai World Cup to showcase our ability to host the best events in the world in Dubai. We have learned from the experiences of others in the region and elsewhere. We wish to help racing evolve in a positive way and learn from mistakes made in the past.

Race distances

We have already started preparing for the next racing season, and I, personally, as an owner, have suggested that more 1400m races be added to the schedule as races for this distance receive many entries. We will also study the bloodlines presently racing in the UAE and organise races that are s uitable for them.

Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)

We will seek to improve our relationship with the FEI and make it a positive and transparent one, and we will avoid making the same mistakes we have made in the past so that we don’t face any more penalties and legal issues.