The planet’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup, will be run on US-style dirt after the authorities at Meydan decided to dig up its current Tapeta surface.
There is a lot of talk about it being to attract more of the top horses from America, but American trainers do not generally travel outside the US because horses are not able to run on medication — such as Lasix — abroad.
Tapeta may have had its problems in the heat of Dubai, but the one thing you can say about it is that it is fair and is much safer than dirt.
In America nearly all the tracks that switched to synthetic have now changed back to dirt. This is because trainers prefer the traditional surface that tends to ride faster, although on which there are more injuries.
Call me an old softie but the welfare of the horse should be paramount in 21st century racing.
This article was first published in the 22 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine