Dubai World Cup: All you need to know, races, timings, how to watch in UAE

The piece de resistance in the UAE's sporting and social calendar takes place today


James Jose

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Jockey Christophe Soumillon rides Thunder Snow across the finish line to win the Dubai World Cup in 2018. Photo: AFP file
Jockey Christophe Soumillon rides Thunder Snow across the finish line to win the Dubai World Cup in 2018. Photo: AFP file

Published: Sat 30 Mar 2024, 8:01 AM

"People say that I am one of the biggest owners of horses, but only a few know that I have spent endless nights of my childhood sleeping in the stable with my horse. My mother always knew where I would be when she searched at night and couldn't find me on my bed."

This excerpt from My Story by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, perhaps sums it up perfectly — the great leader's love for horses.

From that sheer love and passion for the equine species, the Dubai World Cup was born.

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The year 1996 changed the horse racing landscape like no other with the best of the world gathering at the then Nad Al Sheba Racecourse and now at the iconic and the stunning marvel which is the Meydan Racecourse.

Every Saturday of March, as is the tradition, the best of the best horses, trainers, top notch jockeys and owners converge to make it a true festival of horse racing.

The 28th renewal of the showpiece is set to take to the bottle green starting gates of the Meydan Racecourse today.

Here, we give you a lowdown on what's in store:

What is the Dubai World Cup?

The event was created in 1996 by Sheikh Mohammed and sees the best of thoroughbred breed of horses as well as Purebred Arabians from all over the world.

Where is it held?

It is held at the Meydan Racecourse which was opened in 2010. Prior to that, the Dubai World Cup was held at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.

How many races are there?

There are nine races on the card starting with a classic contest for the Purebred Arabians.

What time does the action start?

The first race is at 3.30pm but racegoers are advised to get to the Meydan Racecourse early to avoid traffic and tailbacks.

What about parking?

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced the parking spaces within the Meydan Racecourse facility as well as other parking areas and free shuttle buses from parking areas.

What is the total prize money?

The total prize money for the night is $30.5 million.

What are the races on the card?

As is the tradition, the race card consists on nine races.

  • Group 1: Dubai Kahayla Classic for the Purebred Arabians ($1 million)
  • Group 2: Godolphin Mile ($1 million)
  • Group 2: Dubai Gold Cup ($1 million)
  • Group 1: Al Quoz Sprint ($1.5 million)
  • Group 2: UAE Derby ($1 million)
  • Group 1: Dubai Golden Shaheen ($2 million)
  • Group 1: Dubai Turf ($5 million)
  • Group 1: Dubai Sheema Classic ($6 million)
  • Group 1: Dubai World Cup (12 million)

What is the field like?

The race night has attracted a field of 119 of the world's elite horses from 15 countries and includes 33 winners of Group 1 races, in addition to 5 horses which won titles in the Dubai World Cup last season.

Which is the main race?

The $12 million Dubai World Cup is the main race and will bring the curtains down on the night. But, all the other races too hold their weight on the night.

How can you watch in the UAE?

If you cannot make it to the Meydan Racecourse, you can watch Dubai Racing Channel and Yas TV. Sport 24 will make the broadcast available on Emirates Airline, for those in the skies.

You can also catch all the race updates and results on Khaleej Times' social media pages.

What else is there?

The dust may be yet to settle but there will be a stunning closing show, featuring a drone display that aims to set a new world record. A fleet of 4,000 specialised drones will deliver a unique 33-minute aerial display of pyrotechnics and LED lights.

Who are the past winners of the Dubai World Cup?

  • 1996: Cigar
  • 1997: Singspiel
  • 1998: Silver Charm
  • 1999: Almutawakel
  • 2000: Dubai Millennium
  • 2001: Captain Steve
  • 2002: Street Cry
  • 2003: Moon Ballad
  • 2004: Pleasantly Perfect
  • 2005: Roses In May
  • 2006: Electrocutionist
  • 2007: Invasor
  • 2008: Curlin
  • 2009: Well Armed
  • 2010: Gloria de Campeao
  • 2011: Victoire Pisa
  • 2012: Monterosso
  • 2013: Animal Kingdom
  • 2014: African Story
  • 2015: Prince Bishop
  • 2016: California Chrome
  • 2017: Arrogate
  • 2018: Thunder Snow
  • 2019: Thunder Snow
  • 2020: Cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • 2021: Mystic Guide
  • 2022: Country Grammer
  • 2023: Ushba Tesoro

Which horse has won it most times?

Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin, is the only horse to have defended the title, winning it in 2018 and 2019.

Which owner has won it most times?

Godolphin has won a record nine Dubai World Cups in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Who is the most successful trainer?

Emirati Saeed bin Suroor has won it a record nine times in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019.

Who are the jockeys who have won it most times?

American jockey Jerry Bailey won in 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2002 and the charismatic Italian Frankie Dettori is on level terms with four won in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2022.


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