Racegoers are set to be welcomed back to UAE racecourses when the season gets underway on Friday.
Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmouk, Vice Chairman of the Emirates Racing Authority, announced the re-opening of gates for racing fans at all the five UAE racecourses following the country’s success in overcoming the pandemic.
"We greatly missed our fans in the past season, and we look forward to welcoming them back following the go-ahead given by UAE authorities to return to normal operations while comprehensively observing all Covid-19 protocols," Sheikh Rashid told a gathering of ERA officials, reported by Wam.
"As we begin to host a series of exciting races and implement new strategic initiatives, we will continue to work with our stakeholders, club management and relevant authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity crowds at our racecourses is done in a controlled environment that prioritises safety."
Jebel Ali Racecourse hosts the first race meet of the 2021-22 season on Thursday while Sharjah hosts a six-racecard on Friday.
Mohammed Saeed Al Shehhi, director general of the ERA, added: "We urge people attending racing events to fully abide by precautionary measures and respect the protocols to create a safe environment at our racecourses."
Sheikh Rashid announced several new initiatives for the new season, including a programme to nurture Emirati management talent as part of advancing the development of the sport in the UAE.
"We already have substantial involvement from Emiratis through racehorse ownership, and we are pleased to be able to extend this opportunity to competent individuals to help steer and support our operations on race days," said Sheikh Rashid.
The 2021-22 season will see races being split into two divisions if they receive a large number of declarations. The ERA said it will compensate for the appropriate prizemoney to be shared in the case of a split. Connections will only have to pay a single entry fee for attending all the races that they have entered.
The ERA is also looking into the possibility of allowing horses that were entered for the Dubai World Cup Carnival to compete at races in Abu Dhabi and Jebel Ali Racecourse in major Patter Races like the National Day Cup, Jebel Ali Stakes, Mile, and Sprint, should quarantine regulations allow. Until recently, Carnival horses were only cleared to race at Carnival events.