Dickinson blasts Meydan call

  • Last Updated: May 14 2014, 18:24 BST

Tapeta supremo Michael Dickinson on Wednesday blasted the decision by Meydan racecourse to switch their existing track to dirt as "a step backwards".

Meydan: Will replace the Tapeta surface with dirt
Meydan: Will replace the Tapeta surface with dirt

In a statement to sportinglife.com, Dickinson suggested a dirt track at Meydan would favour the American-based contenders in the Dubai World Cup.

The statement read: "Tapeta Footings are disappointed to hear that Meydan are replacing the Tapeta track with an American dirt track.

"It is a step backwards.

"It is sad that we have already lost two Polytracks in the USA and now we are losing yet another synthetic track at Meydan.

"The USA is the only major racing nation who race on dirt. When the Dubai World Cup was on dirt it was only ever won by the USA and the UAE, it was not a World Cup.

"Since it has been run on Tapeta the winners have come from four different countries including Animal Kingdom from the USA.

"On two occasions there were only 7 runners on dirt and last year on Tapeta there were 16 runners and overfilled.

"On Dubai World Cup night of 2014 the six Tapeta races were won by six different countries, it was fair, formful and above all safe.

"The decision is difficult to understand as the Godolphin horses training on Tapeta at Al Quoz won 17 races at The Carnival including the Dubai World Cup, while Godolphin with the same number of horses training at another location on dirt only won six races at The Carnival.

"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.

"However, Ernst Ortel, the leading trainer in the UAE, has asked to buy some of the old Tapeta from Meydan to put on his training farm in Abu Dhabi clearly indicating that he is in favor of the surface.

"The two best possible USA candidates for last years' Dubai World Cup would have been Orb and Mucho Macho Man because they absolutely love Tapeta.

"They did not run in the race for other reasons. The Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs has proven to be safer than any dirt tracks in America and there is no possible chance of it being replaced because both the management and horsemen love the surface."

Tapeta has been in use since racing began at Meydan four years ago.

However, dirt was previously used at Dubai's former flagship racecourse, Nad Al Sheba, and Meydan's board of directors have decided to switch back ahead of next year's Dubai Carnival.

Saeed H. Al Tayer, chairman and chief executive officer of the Meydan Group, said: "This is a decision that will be best for the future of Meydan racing and the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

"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 raceday."

Jamie Osborne has no intention of ditching his Dubai World Cup ambitions for Toast Of New York.

The three-year-old colt proved his ability to handle the synthetic surface with a brilliant display in the UAE Derby at the end of March and although he is currently being prepared for the Investec Derby at Epsom, Osborne has made no secret of the fact next year's World Cup is his primary objective.

The Lambourn trainer admits the switch of surface is likely to affect his colt's preparations between now and next March, but sees no reason why he should shy away from targeting the world's richest race.

Osborne said: "It wasn't a surprise as we heard it was coming and my initial reaction was obviously one of disappointment.

"We have a very talented horse who acted on the Tapeta very well, but it's not the end of the world as far as we're concerned.

"Our horse might well go on dirt and we're certainly not abandoning Plan A (Dubai World Cup).

"What it might mean is we may have to have a practice on dirt somewhere in the autumn. Whether that is at Santa Anita (for the Breeders' Cup) or somewhere else, we'll just have to see.

"It might also change the way we arrive in Meydan next year. We will probably train him out there, rather than running him straight off the plane.

"We decided against running in the Kentucky Derby on dirt, but the primary reason wasn't the surface. It was more to do with timing than anything.

"He's coming along and we're happy with him at the moment."