We are now heading to the opening Meydan meeting of the season and the first of what I hope will be many talking horses blogs. This week I was expecting to write about the excitement of racing returning to Dubai’s premier track. I am fortunate enough to own horses in a few countries and on Monday I sat in front of my TV waiting to watch one of the horses I have shares in within the EERC syndicate run at Kempton park in the UK.

The race prior brought home the dangers involved in the sport which many of us love. The four horse pile up was dreadful to watch and then the concern quickly followed about the jockeys and horses involved. All four horses were quickly up to their feet; the same cannot be said about the four jockeys involved.

All four jockeys have ridden horses I am involved in and three have won races for me. Most people in the UAE racing scene will know Ted Durcan and will speak highly of him and I am no different. Freddy Tylicki rode in Dubai last season and was a welcome addition to the weighing room. I don’t know Jim Crowley or Steve Drowne as well even though Jim has won four times for me in the UK with The Rat Pack horses.

However, even if none of the jockeys had ever ridden for me, the feeling of dread and worry would have been the same. Like all jockeys, they put themselves at risk for a sport many of us get great pleasure from. Like work riders and stall handlers, every time they go to work, there is a danger. Until we see an incident like we did on Monday, it is hard to comprehend. I along with everyone in the racing family wish all four jockeys a full and speedy recovery and hope to see Freddy out of hospital and back riding horses as soon as possible.

Back to Meydan on Thursday we have a 7 race card including the first of what I hope is something we see regularly here; 2 year old races. Only 7 line up with just 3 trainers involved. If you are looking for the winner, I would suggest that jockey picks could be the way to go with stables / retained jockeys the ones to follow. So it could be between Richie Mullen’s mount and Dane O’Neil’s pick for Satish Seemar yard and Sh Hamdan respectively.

The rest of the card sees a lot of old favourites return with champion trainer Doug Watson holding a strong hand and in races 4 and 5 he will be hopeful (as will I) with Active Spirit returning to action early. Storm Belt (a horse I love so much that I bought his brother, Tradesman) goes in race 5 and both will have chances.

However the results go, the important thing is as always the safety of everyone involved; whether equine or human.

See you at the races…