Meydan racing officials have announced that they will be replacing the artificial Tapeta all-weather surface at Meydan Racecourse with dirt and all future editions of the Group 1 Dubai World Cupwill be held on the dirt surface.
The Dubai World Cup was run on a dirt surface from 1996 to 2010, but the surface was changed to Tapeta in 2010, which many racing experts believes has led to the quality of the field for the $10 million event dropping in quality.
Trainers from the United States have been unwilling to run their horses on the Tapeta surface in recent years, with not a single American-based horse taking part in the race earlier this year, and Meydan Group Chairman And CEO Saeed Al Tayer said that the decision to revert back to dirt was made in an attempt to restore the Dubai World Cup back to its former glory.
“This is a decision that will be best for the future of Meydan racing and the Dubai World Cup Carnival,” Al Tayer said in a statement.
“In the coming year, we will celebrate the 20th running of the Dubai World Cup and the track will be the natural surface that proved so successful during the first 14 years of this magnificent race day.”
Tapeta inventor Michael Dickinson was responsible for installing the synthetic surface at the leading racecourse in Dubai four years ago and he told Racing UK that he was extremely disappointed by the decision of the Meydan Group to go back to a dirt surface.
A number of trainers criticised the inconsistency of the Tapeta surface, but Dickinson implied that the maintenance of the track was not looked after as it should have been by Meydan racing officials.
“Tapeta Footings are disappointed to hear that Meydan are replacing the Tapeta track with an American dirt track, it is a step backwards,” Dickinson said.
“It is sad that we have already lost two Polytracks in the USA and now we are losing yet another synthetic track.
“Tapeta would have loved the opportunity to make Meydan as good as the Tapeta at Al Quoz and we even offered the chance of a green track rather than the black one.”
The only Tapeta surface in Australia was laid by the Devonport Racing Club at their Spreyton track; with Pro-Ride the most popular artificial racing surface in Australia.
Equine superstar So You Think ran on the Tapeta surface when he finished fourth in the 2012 edition of the Dubai World Cup, with connections blaming the surface for the flat performance of the High Chaparral entire, and it is unlikely that many Australian-trained horses will be given the opportunity to run on a dirt track in the Dubai World Cup in the future.