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Racing Post

THE smiles matched the weather as, on a sunny day for this historic first all-weather meeting and with positive feedback from riders and trainers, there were beaming faces from the Arena Racing Company hierarchy with the course deemed to have passed its first official test with flying colours. It was not the first time horses had galloped on the course there had been a trials day here earlier in the month —but Joey Haynes will go down in history as the first jockey to ride a winner on the new Tapeta surface.

After partnering Tap The Honey to land the opening 1in21 f maiden, he said: &lquo;I couldn’t fault the track. It was the first time I had ridden on it, although the horse came here for the trials day when Dougie Costello rode him. It was very fair and although we went a good gallop we kept going.They were kicking it up a little, but nothing too bad.&rquo;

Arc chief executive Martin Cruddace was all smiles after the opening event. &lquo;The jockeys said it rode really well, and Joey Haynes, who rode the first winner, described it as a very fair track, so I’m delighted," he said. "It’s been quite a feat, but we’ve completed it on time and within budget. But this is only the first stage and we’ll not stop working in order to improve the quality of the racing here. I’ve always said quality and profit go hand in hand — they are not mutually exclusive.&rquo;

Trainer Mark Johnston, who sent out the successful Turbine, was quick with a compliment — even if it came a little qualified. &lquo;I’ve always said it was the best turf course in the country, so it was a great pity they dug it up. However, it’s now the best all-weather track in the country,&rquo; he said.

Former jockey Dale Gibson, representing the Professional Jockeys Association, said: &lquo;It’s great to have an all-weather track in the north at last and it looks in first-class order. It’s amazing what they have achieved here in such a short space of time. It will take time to bed in a little more, but it’s a good, galloping course and looks fair for everyone.&rquo;

Joan Wakefield, the wife of Tapeta inventor Michael Dickinson, was responsible for overseeing the laying of the surface and was also delighted with the reaction of the riders and trainers on the day of its first big test. She said: &lquo;I’ve been over for ten days now, together with my assistant Miguel, and we’ve fine-tuned a few things, but it has bedded down well. It was very cold when we laid it back in the winter so we’ve fluffed it up a bit and it seems to be riding really well.&rquo;

The course’s executive director David Williamson said: &lquo;Today is the result of a lot of hard work by everyone concerned, particularly Stobarts, who were our contractors and worked so hard.&rquo;

The track’s clerk of the course James Armstrong, who has been on site throughout the transition process, said: &lquo;It’s been full on for quite a while but it’s been worthwhile as there’s been so much positive feedback from everyone." However, the first race on the historic day might have been scuppered by, of all things, a gaggle of geese. Armstrong said: "The jockeys saw them close to the course but luckily they weren’t on the racing surface and they flew away after the horses passed them.&rquo;

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Tapeta given the credit as races oversubscribed

WHO wants to go to Wolverhampton on a grey Monday in September? Plenty do and many more than there is room for.

There were 263 entries for yesterday’s meeting and on top of the 97 names on the final racecard there were another 77 horses eliminated at the declaration stage. All bar one of the eight contests was oversubscribed.

Managing director David Roberts credited the reliability of the Tapeta all-weather track compared with the changing autumnal turf for the course’s popularity.

He said: &lquo;We are always good at this time of year as our surface is consistent. The ground on turf at this stage lurches from good to firm to heavy.&rquo;

There will be an influx of humans as well as equines on September 25, when a record crowd will be at the course to see Madness play after racing. So many racegoers are expected at the track that arrangements have been made to accommodate people on the inside of the course for the first time.

Written by David Carr

Originally published in Racing Post, 15/9/2015


Last November there were four horses on the short list for Horse of the Year in the USA. Two of those four horses train exclusively on Tapeta. Considering there are approximately 500 dirt tracks in the USA and only 3 Tapeta tracks this is an impressive statistic.

The USAsent The Kentucky Derby winner and two other Grade I performers to contest The Dubai World Cup on dirt. These three horses finished in the exact order that most people predicted, but they were beaten by an 8 year-old whose only been on a dirt track twice in his life and trains exclusively on Tapeta.

Last week all 7 races on the Tapeta at Wolverhamptonwere won by the favorites. Fair...formful and safe.



This is why Tapeta Footings is the best, because our R & D department is constantly coming up with improved formulas.

We are committed to producing the best racing surface possible. We run an extensive research and development program, looking at every aspect of the Tapeta surface, which has resulted in year on year enhancements to track performance and safety for both horse and rider.


Tapeta enjoys a very close association with the preeminent Fairhill Training Center in Maryland and follows the notable successes of horses trained on the Tapeta track there. As the home of Kentucky Derby winning trainers Graham Motion, Michael Matz and, more recently, Shug McGaughey, Fairhill provides the highest standard of training facilities available at any public training center across the USA. We were delighted by their decision to install the Tapeta surface at the center in 2006 and are proud to have had Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Breeders Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man train on the Tapeta during 2013.


Tapeta Footings was delighted to provide a Training Surface for James Ewart at Craig Farm, Langholm. We are sure the surface will be a huge beneift to James and Briony in their training endeavors. The surface has been regularly tested by hurricanes on the East Coast in the USA where we have anywhere between 6 & 11 inches of rain in 12 hours. We know Tapeta will perform well in the high rainfall area of Scotland. Michael Dickinson, Joan Wakefield and the Tapeta Project Manager, Migiuel Piedra wish James and Briony Good Luck for lots of winners in the future.

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A Glorious Finish at the Dubai World Cup

Tapeta Footings introduces

When sprayed pre-winter, Tapeta Thermo- Track is proven to prevent freezing of most synthetic surfaces down to 0F or -17C.
No track is 100% all weather, preventing fog, 3 feet of snow and severe arctic-like winds are beyond their capabilities. 
First of all, snow must be blown or bladed off the track and then Tapeta Thermo-Track will do the rest!
Tapeta Thermo- Track is now being manufactured in the USA and UK and comes with a conditional guarantee.

Michael Dickinson inspects the Tapeta™ track at Meydan.


5 of the 7 winners on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan were trained on Tapeta, including the first three finishers in the Dubai World Cup who trained exclusively on Tapeta for several months. 
Of the $26 million in purse money offered that night, owners of horses prepared on Tapeta collected over $17.5 million.

At the finish of the 2010 Dubai World Cup, there were 10 horses separated by 3 lengths which demonstrates that nearly all horses can handle the surface and perform to their best.

Steve Haskin (Blood-Horse)
Kinsale King, winner of the six-furlong Golden Shaheen, had trained on the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields earlier in the year. The first three finishers of the UAE Derby (UAE-II) all had raced at least twice on Meydan’s Tapeta surface this year, and, of course, the first three finishers of the Dubai World Cup had been racing on Tapeta all year and that is a ringing endorsement for Tapeta.

Nick Kling (The Troy Record)
“The Tapeta at Meydan appears to be the best version yet of the manufactured surfaces. It could prove to be strong competition for elite dirt venues such as Saratoga.”

Leading trainer in Japan, Yoshito Yahagi
“The all-weather track is exactly as I expected, and I think my horse, GLORIOUS NOAH will enjoy the surface, so there is no concern about the track.”
He was satisfied with his charge's work, saying the colt’s movement had looked good for the entire duration of his work, which is not always the case.
“His work today went well. He was concentrated and moving well. Sometimes after a blowout, his gait becomes a bit irregular but not this time.”

Jeff Scott ( The Saratogian)
As for Meydan and it's synthetic Tapeta racing surface it was hard to find anyone who had anything negative to say. A closer look at this year’s Dubai results, however, shows that most of the races on Tapeta ran close to form. The top three finishers in both the UAE Derby and Golden Shaheen were among the first four or five choices on the Daily Racing Form’s morning line.
Pat Cummings (DubaiRaceNight.com)
The Dubai World Cup produced a fabulous finish, with ten horses separated by less than three lengths, and winners came from all areas of the course. This surface plays so true.  Dickinson was out all week in the morning talking to jockeys about the surface, all of whom seemed unbelievably positive.

Richard Dunwoody (Sporting Life)
The Tapeta artificial surface, designed by former leading jumps trainer Michael Dickinson, is light years ahead of most synthetic tracks.
Michael, who gave up training to concentrate on his Tapeta Footings company, will hopefully receive a few more orders in the next few years. Arena Leisure, which operates Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton, could be among the first customers for the new surface in Britain.
"We have had discussions with Michael Dickinson about the possibility installing a Tapeta surface the next time we renew it," said Kate Hills, Arena's head of PR.
"Tapeta is a strong possibility, because it has obviously been well received and I know they are very pleased with it at Meydan."
Vastly experienced American jockey KENT DESORMEAUX is among those who have been fulsome their praise for the new surface.

Brian Murphy (Canadian Press)
Many of the jockeys and trainers have had just a few days to get familiar with the Meydan Racecourse's Tapeta surface, which replaces the dirt at the now-razed Nad al Sheba track. The initial responses have been generally upbeat.
MICK KINANE, who retired last year after a 35-year jockey career that included a Belmont Stakes victory said “The Meydan track showed "no real bias" toward either dirt or turf specialists. It's a very open World Cup- the most open World Cup we've seen."
”We're very pleased with the track," said jockey AARON GRYDER, who this year will ride the Chilean-bred entry Amor De Pobre, which has recently been racing in the Gulf. "The horse wants to know that the track will react the same way with each stride. This surface has been very consistent that way."
International Jockey, TED DURCAN also added, "Most of the races on the Nad Al Sheba dirt were determined by speed, as jockeys tried to get away from the kickback. Things are very different at Meydan. There's no kickback and you can ride a proper race. It's more competitive, but horses are winning from everywhere - low draw or high draw, held up or making the running. There's no bias."


"The Tapeta track at Meydan is phenomenal.  The Tapeta track is the best synthetic surface I have ridden on.  On it, all things are possible.  Horses can go wire to wire and they can come from behind because there is no kickback and it keeps the horses happy."

Kent Desormeaux

"I like the surface. Easy for both jockey and horse, no kickback, good cushion and grip.
I would like to take a Tapeta back to Japan"
Japanese Jockey, Norihiro Yokoyama

"I like the track very much- it is very horse friendly."

Christophe Lemaire, leading French jockey and winner of the Japan Cup, Prix du Jockey-Club

"It is an excellent surface and I was very impressed. Obviously,
I am very familiar with synthetic surfaces as we have four in California, one of which is Tapeta and that was always my favourite.

"However, that is quite old and this one at Meydan is much improved and you can tell they have done a lot of work on the composition of the surface. The horses really were able to handle the surface which was firm enough for them to be able to get purchase, but kind enough on the legs with a nice 'bounce' – a bit like a carpet.

"The whole place is amazing and it was great to be part of it having also won that last World Cup at Nad Al Sheba."
Aaron Gryder, who won the final Dubai World Cup at Nad al Sheba on Well Armed

Almost every race held at Meydan so far have had maximum fields of 14 runners.  It is still possible to win in wire to wire fashion with
the right horse.

The first 2 nights of racing at Meydan, the track was riding a little slow but it was safe.  Since that time, Tapeta Footings promised the trainers and jockeys a consistent track.  Every morning the same and every evening the same, whatever the weather.

Tapeta Footings President,
Michael W Dickinson

STAR CROWNED should be the poster boy for Tapeta at Meydan.  He has run 6 times in 6 weeks and he was very consistent and his last 2 races were his best.”
Dick Powell, BRISNET

"Having followed the Dubai Carnivals closely over the years, I noticed how difficult it was for horses to follow up a good run on the dirt track with another decent performance the next week. With the new Tapeta surface that has all changed. Quite a number of horses have come back within seven days and run right up to form a second time. The 'bounce factor' appears to be greatly reduced." 
Geir Stabell, Editor GLOBEFORM

The Tapeta Track appears to have ridden well at Meydan.  Races have been won in front and from off the pace and the draw statistics favor no one.  During the 6 meetings so far, winners have come from a low single figure and the highest possible double figure draws.  Ability seems to be the one deciding factor in the huge majority of the Thoroughbred races staged to date. 
Howard Wright,
Associate Editor of the Racing Post

The best horse wins whether is inside or out, front or back.  Strictly no bias.  Given the right horse, there is no reason why a jockey could not go wire to wire. 
Walter Glynn of Raceform
I can make money betting on Tapeta at Meydan.  There is no bias.  All the bettors are playing on a level playing field.  The form stands up really well.  Invariably the pace is sound.  Very formful. 
Richard Young, Professional Gambler

“For the entire Carnival:

- 21 winners were forwardly placed
- 12 came from mid pack
- 19 were closers

An overwhelming bias favoring closers? I think not.”
Pat Cummings, DubaiRaceNight.com
Tapeta approved in the UK by the British Horseracing Authority

The British Horseracing Authority has announced that Tapeta, the racing surface used for the new Meydan racecourse which opened in Dubai last month, has now been approved for use in Britain. Arena Leisure, which operates Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton, could be the first customer for the new surface. "The next time we are looking at renewing any of our surface, we would seriously consider the Tapeta option," Kate Hills, Arena's head of PR, said.
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Designed by trainer
Michael Dickinson, Tapeta™ Footings represents the culmination of a life-long pursuit to create the perfect surface for equine athletes. Tapeta™ (Latin for "carpet") is specially designed first and foremost to protect the horse's well-being, providing a cushion that protects the legs and feet of horses in training from the injuries common on industry-standard dirt surfaces. The patented wax-coated mixture of sand, rubber and fiber is impervious to weather and never turns to mud, and is the only system on the market today that has been tested over time to hold up under varied and severe weather conditions.

First unveiled in 1998, the surface drew immediate acclaim when Tapeta™-trained
Cetewayo won the Grade-1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga, and Da Hoss won the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.

This revolutionary surface has been used at
Tapeta Farm in North East, Maryland for the past eight years, and has been manufactured since 2005 for use on Thoroughbred racetracks and training tracks around the world. Requiring very little maintenance, Tapeta™ is the perfect surface for any training/schooling venue either indoors or out, and lends itself to any equine discipline. Our exhaustive research and testing has provided one of the safest, most reliable surfaces for horse and rider on today's market.

Stacks Image 50
Michael Dickinson
with Tapeta™ Footings