THE racecard for Saturday’s US$27.25m Dubai World Cup boasts some of the best racehorses in training today contesting nine of the most high-profile races on the global racing calendar. Yet more than that, it also reveals some of the world’s most high-profile brands, strategically positioned alongside Meydan Group to bring the world’s richest race day to a worldwide audience of millions.
The Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates, is the finale of the day’s sporting action. Worth $10m in prize money, with $6m going to the connections of the winning horse, the Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race in the world. Now in its 19th year, the annual showpiece is run over 2000m on the all-weather track and was first held at Nad al Sheba Racecourse.
Back then the connections of American super horse, Cigar placed his unbeaten reputation on the line to travel across the world and contest the inaugural running of this race. Cigar was successful in his challenge and his name is the first on an exclusive honour-roll of 18 very special racehorses to have gone down in history as Dubai World Cup winners.
Supported by eight other high-class races, a victory on Dubai World Cup day represents a career-defining high for trainers, owners and jockeys. Each contest has been designed to encompass the best that world racing has to offer for the staying, sprint, Classic and middle distance divisions.
From the beauty and historical significance of the original racehorse, the Purebred Arabian, in the Dubai Kahayla Classic sponsored by Emaar, the Dubai World Cup-day card also takes in the adrenaline-fuelled all-out gallop of the speedballs in the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News and the Al Quoz Sprint empowered by IPIC.
The two turf races offer the chance for spectators to watch the world’s best jockeys bring carefully-planned tactics into play for the middle distance Dubai Duty Free sponsored by Dubai Duty Free and the Dubai Sheema Classic presented by Longines.
The Godolphin Mile sponsored by Meydan Sobha provides top milers with a world stage and the Dubai World Cup-day Classic, the UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group hands the platform over to the season’s best three-year-olds. Then there is the stamina-sapping Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors which sees the horse world’s hardy stayers test their mettle over flat racing’s ‘marathon’ distance.
The development of the Dubai World Cup-day card and the growth of the event’s international profile, as well as that of Dubai as a global destination would not have been possible without the support of a select group of sponsors whose vision has helped support and nurture horse racing in the Emirate.
Malih Al Basti, Vice Chairman of Meydan Group and Chairman of Meydan Racing Committe, said: “Dubai World Cup day is the annual highlight of our season. It is a time when we look forward to standing alongside our Pillar Partners to promote high-class international racing and highlight Dubai as an exciting global hub for business, pleasure and events of international significance.
“Thanks to the investment and vision of our partners we are able to host tens of thousands of spectators on the big day and beam the action in Dubai to millions around the world who watch this showcase on television. We are fortunate to have long relationships with our key foundation partners yet also attract new sponsors to the Sport of Kings. We value each of these associations and look forward celebrating with all our Pillar Partners as we crown nine new champions on Saturday March 29 at Meydan Racecourse.
Meydan Group is also teaming up with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage centre, to bring some of the traditions of the UAE to the raceday guests.
Ibrahim Abdul Rahim, Director of Events at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center said, “Dubai has become a platform that brings together horses and riders to seek greatness and success at this international annual meeting. Horseracing plays an important part in reflecting the UAE’s authenticity and tradition and the importance of equestrian sport in our everyday life”.
“In collaboration with Meydan, we at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Center are proud to showcase our traditions at the Dubai World Cup 2014 by offering heritage plates that reflect the culture and identity of the UAE and live performances including marine arts, folk arts, Emirati “Ayalah” and folk dances “Alnaashat”.
Photos by Andrew Watkins, Dubai Racing Club, Neville Hopwood.