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Asian Conf 7: Synthetic Track Revolution Underway
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Darley director Joe Osborne told the ARC that synthetic tracks provided more consistent racing, less costly maintenance & safer conditions than dirt tracks & declared: "This is a revolution & let's all join it!" Osborne said he sees a day when global championships are decided on synthetic tracks "due to their fairness & consistency, giving horses from all over the world an equal chance". Racing Victoria chief executive Stephen Allanson confirmed that, compared to turf, synthetic surfaces are "3 times cheaper to maintain". And Keeneland Association president Nick Nicholson noted Keeneland installed Polytrack last year & has become the North American distributor because "it is a huge leap forward for safety of the rider & safety of the horse. We are on the verge of a revolution in North American racing surfaces. I think the number one reason for this is the horse: the horses are screaming they feel better on this surface. It's been an amazing phenomenon — like nothing I've ever seen." Trainer Michael Dickinson (who invented the Tapeta surface installed at Godolphin's Al Quoz training centre in Dubai) said synthetic surfaces can lead to longer racing careers for horses, which in turn will be better economically for owners & racecourses.