Dubai World Cup highlights Arab world’s love of horses
The 27th Dubai World Cup, one of the globe’s most prestigious horse racing tournaments, will be held this Saturday at Meydan Racecourse, bringing together a wide cross section of horse racing fans and the best horses, trainers and jockeys worldwide.
Considered the planet’s most spectacular race day, this year’s Dubai World Cup is another tribute to the bold vision of the UAE’s leadership for the development of equestrian sports. The tournament is the product of an ambitious blueprint for the growth of horse racing laid out three decades ago by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed is an iconic personality who stands out in the annals of global horse racing for his tireless pursuit of equestrian excellence. His vision guided the development not only of the Dubai World Cup but also Godolphin, one of the world’s largest and best-known racing teams, and Darley, one of the world’s most successful thoroughbred breeding operations.
Since its inauguration 27 years ago at Nad Al-Sheba, the Dubai World Cup has established itself as a highly anticipated fixture on the international horse racing calendar. The tournament has seen stories of incredible triumphs featuring some of the sport’s greatest champions, from Cigar in 1996 to the amazing Dubai Millennium, Curlin and Arrogate, to name just a few. This year, the tournament sponsored by Emirates airline features a $12 million feature race and eight other enthralling contests, including the $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic and the Dubai Turf, sponsored by DP World.
Parallel to the tournament’s growth, Dubai has created a thriving equestrian ecosystem, backed by exceptional infrastructure and world-leading facilities for horse breeding, training and equine healthcare. The beating heart of this ecosystem is the iconic 80,000-capacity Meydan Racecourse, featuring the world’s largest integrated racing facility and longest racetrack. The futuristically designed racecourse is also home to the world’s largest grandstand, stretching for half a mile, and the world’s first trackside five-star hotel, the stunning Meydan Hotel.
Over the last few years, Dubai has reinforced its emergence as an equestrian hub by playing a major role in the recovery of the horse racing industry from the impact of global challenges. The emirate has introduced an array of initiatives to boost the sector and revitalize the global community of horse owners, trainers and other equestrian professionals.
The Dubai World Cup has established itself as a highly anticipated fixture on the international horse racing calendar.
Sheikh Rashed bin Dalmook Al-Maktoum
From industry trade fairs to global auctions, Dubai has provided platforms for the worldwide equestrian fraternity to network, explore partnerships, source the world’s best sires and discover the latest industry innovations, solutions and technologies. Further, Dubai has been a champion of global animal welfare best practices, with all its equestrian endeavors marked by the highest standards of protection and care for horses.
Dubai’s remarkable success in fostering the growth of a world-leading horse racing industry is deeply rooted in the Arab world’s strong traditions in horse riding, racing, breeding and other equestrian pursuits. Since time immemorial, horses have been a symbol of nobility, security and prosperity in our region. The passion for horses and horse riding runs deep in our blood.
On Saturday, a packed Meydan Racecourse, along with millions of fans worldwide, will witness yet another grand expression of the Arab world’s love of horses.
- Sheikh Rashed bin Dalmook Al-Maktoum is Chairman of the Dubai Racing Club.