07/25/2008 12:00AM

Tapeta for Dubai training track

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The Tapeta synthetic racing surface developed by former trainer Michael Dickinson has been chosen to serve as the training track at the new Meydan racing complex under construction in Dubai, the Dubai Racing Club announced on Friday.

Citing the safety of horses as the main priority in the selection process, the Dubai Racing Club's CEO, Frank Gabriel, said that "we looked at all of the all-weather surfaces around the world, and while we recognized that each is beneficial to the horse, we decided to go with Tapeta. We believe it is the best choice for our environment and racing program."

Dickinson, who developed the synthetic surface, a wax-coated mixture of sand, rubber, and fiber whose name is Latin for "carpet," has previously installed Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields and Presque Isle Downs. Tapeta is also used as a training track in nine places around the world, among them Godolphin's Al Quoz in Dubai, Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, the Singapore Turf Club, and at two locations in Newmarket, England's premiere training facility. The first Tapeta surface was installed in 1998 by Dickinson at his own Tapeta Farm in North East, Md., where he trained Da Hoss to win the second of his two Breeders' Cup Miles.

Currently being built opposite Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, the state-of-the-art Meydan Racecourse is scheduled to open in winter 2010 in time for that year's Dubai World Cup. The track itself will consist of a turf course with a main track inside it, both fronted by a grandstand more than three-fifths of mile in length with a capacity of 60,000.