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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai ExecutiveCouncil watching the victory of Cross Counter in the third race at Dubai World Cup at Meydan in 2019. —Photo by Shihab
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai ExecutiveCouncil watching the victory of Cross Counter in the third race at Dubai World Cup at Meydan in 2019. —Photo by Shihab

Published: Sat 26 Mar 2022, 12:00 AM

Find out everything there is to know about one of the biggest sporting events in the world



THE RACES

This year’s edition of the Dubai World Cup, once of the world’s most iconic horse races and sought after prizes, is shaping up into a mega-event, with no less than 32 Group or Grade 1 winners entered for the nine-race card. American superstar Life Is Good headlines a likely field of 11 for $12 million showpiece, which has been sponsored by Emirates Airline since its inception in 1996. Winner of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Pegasus World Cup on his last two starts, the Todd Pletcher-trained Life Is Good will however, face stiff opposition from three of his compatriots.

Leading the raiding part is Doug O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie, who has been based in Dubai since January and who won the G2 Maktoum Challenge R2 in his prep race. Two American former winners of the great race, California Chrome and Curlin, also ran in prep races in Dubai before going on to claim victory in the 2000 dirt contest. Hot Rod Charlie’s connections believe it is a tried and tested formula that could work to their horse’s advantage and help him topple the favourite Life Is Good, in addition to other contenders.

Also in the mix is Country Grammer, trained by two-time Dubai World Cup winning conditioner Bob Baffert, and the Steve Asmussen-trained Midnight Bourbon, who were second and third in the G1 Saudi Cup in Riyadh, three weeks’ ago. An international line-up also features Uruguay’s Gran Premio Latinoamericano winner Aero Trem, while Chuwa Wizard for Japan and Magny Cours, trained in France by Andre Fabre, who were second and third respectively in last year’s race, return in a bid to reverse the form.

THE PRIZE MONEY

The nine-race Dubai World Cup meeting boasts a staggering purse of $30.5 million — a $5 million increase from 2021. The event is widely regarded as the biggest sporting event on the UAE sporting racing calendar, which also includes top level tournaments in tennis, golf, rugby, Formula One, mixed martial arts, squash and badminton. The event was created by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to offer the best completion and prize money in the sport. All nine races on the day-night extravaganza are worth at least $1 million. The Dubai Sheema Classic over 2,400 metres carries a rich purse of $6 million, making it one of the richest turf races on the planet, while the $5 million Dubai Turf is another attractive alternative for horses who race over 1,800 metres.

THE HIGHEST STANDARDS

Beside the whopping $30.5 million on offer in prize money, the Dubai World Cup meeting is arguably one the of the most highly-anticipated sporting and social events in the UAE, which can hold its own with well-established race meetings like Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood, the Breeders’ Cup and the Melbourne Cup. It is by far one of the world’s richest days of racing with the highest rated horses competing under the guidance of world-class riders like Frankie Dettori, William Buick, James Doyle, Christophe Soumillon, Mike Smith and Irad Ortiz.

IT’S MUCH MORE THAN A HORSE RACE

The Dubai World Cup is a major social event and one which is attended by the crème de la crème of the horse racing world. It’s not just about horses, trainers, jockeys and breeders, it is also one of the most fashionable events and an occasion to rub shoulders with the best-dressed.High heels, flowing dresses, gowns and hats are de rigueur for the ladies while their male counterparts turn up in three piece suits, hats and neckties. It is an occasion to be your fashionable best and to mingle with celebrities and A Listers.

FOOD FOR ALL

The organisers pull out all the stop to keep the crowds, which can cross 70,000, well looked after by offering a variety of menus, from fast food chains to fine dining, serving mouth-watering delacacies. It is a major party and many corporate companies use the occasion to entertain their clients and guests, with an array of refreshments and eatables.

WHERE TO DINE AND WATCH THE RACES

There are several vantage points from which fans can watch the action on the track with the Apron Views, a seating area positioned overlooking the horse parade ring, being open-to-all-ticket holders. A more relaxed atmosphere can be found at the social village, which has a variety of activities and entertainment going on all through the day. A popular place to watch the races is the Paddock View, which is located in the gigantic Meydan Grandstand, which can seat over 50,000 people and which is the main restaurant at the racecourse.

On offer is an international buffet option, Middle Eastern and Meditteranean delacacies while guest can also access an outdoor balcon to watch the races.

On the ground level is the glass-fronted Winner’s Circle restaurant, where racegoers can indulge in a three-course set menu, and also walk out to the Parade Ring Lounge for close-up look at their favourite horses walking the parade ring prior to the start of a race. Closer to the majestic roof at the racecourse are located private and party suites where guests of the sponsors are entertained.

CAN I PURCHASE A TICKET ON THE DAY?

For information on ticket and sales and prices, it is best advised to visit the Dubai Racing Club website while tickets can also be purchased from the Ticket Office located outside Gate B.

ARE THERE ANY COMPETITIONS?

Yes, every person entering the racecourse will be allowed to participate in the ‘Pick 6 prediction competition’, which carries a cash prize. There are also prizes for lucky tickets with six fans likely to win in the ‘Faces at the Races’ competition, where the Dubai Racing Club rewards fans for being unique or having added to the overall ambiance at the event. Children above two years old must be accompanied by an adult and will require a full-price ticket to enter Meydan Racecourse. Free parking is not included with your racecourse ticket but can be purchased online.

WILL THERE BE A CONCERT?

Record-breaking British singer Becky Hill will be there to headline act the post-race concert, which has been something of a tradition with the Dubai World Cup since 1996. Hill, 28, shot to fame in 2012 when appearing on ‘The Voice UK’. In 2014 she made history when becoming the first contestant of the show to score a UK No. 1 when ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’ hit the top spot. The Brit Award winner also had hits with ‘Remember’, alongside David Guetta, and ‘Wish You Well’, with Sigala. The two-hour show, which takes place in front of the main grandstand, also stars award-winning British drum-and-bass band Rudimental. Their hits include the No. 1 singles ‘Feel The Love’, with John Newman, and ‘These Days’, featuring Jess Glynne. Adding to the line-up is British DJ Sigala, who has recorded eight top 10 hits, including his 2015 debut ‘Easy Love’. The opening act at the concert will feature local artist Ayesha Reid who will warm up the crowd with her blend of jazz and pop hits. The concert is scheduled to take place around 9.30pm, after the closing fireworks display.

SHOWSTOPPERS OF 2019

Visitor at Dubai World Cup at Meydan Dubai.
Visitor at Dubai World Cup at Meydan Dubai.
Visitor in fancy dress and hat at the Dubai World Cup in Meydan. — Photo by Neeraj Murali
Visitor in fancy dress and hat at the Dubai World Cup in Meydan. — Photo by Neeraj Murali
Atendees arrive at Dubai World Cup at Meydan Dubai. — Photo by Shihab
Atendees arrive at Dubai World Cup at Meydan Dubai. — Photo by Shihab
A visitor with a fancy hat at the Dubai World Cup at MeydanRacecourse. — Photo by M. Sajjad
A visitor with a fancy hat at the Dubai World Cup at MeydanRacecourse. — Photo by M. Sajjad
Visitor in fancy dress and hat at the Dubai WorldAttendees take a selfie during the Dubai World Cup in Meydan. — Photo by Neeraj Murali
Visitor in fancy dress and hat at the Dubai WorldAttendees take a selfie during the Dubai World Cup in Meydan. — Photo by Neeraj Murali

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