Dubai World Cup: Weekend fervour builds around the $12mn horse race at an 80,000-capacity venue

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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has welcomed participants to the 26th Dubai World Cup.

To be held on Saturday, 26 March at the Meydan Racecourse, the Dubai World Cup will offer prizes totaling $30.5 million, which includes a highly prestigious $12 million race in Group 1 of Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline.

One of the world’s biggest horse racing tournaments, the 26th Dubai World Cup is bringing together the globe’s best racehorses, trainers, and jockeys.
The current edition will witness the participation of 131 horses from 13 countries, including 78 top-calibre horses from outside the UAE, which will compete with 53 Emirati horses that are among the strongest in the country, including Godolphin horses.

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Other sponsors include Longines, DP World, Atlantis Dubai, Mubadala, Azizi Developments, Al Tayer Motors, Nakheel, Ithra Dubai, Emaar, and the Al Habtoor Group.

One of the world’s most anticipated equestrian events, the Dubai World Cup will be broadcast worldwide to millions across the region and around the globe, strengthening Dubai’s status as one of the world’s leading sporting destinations.

Meydan Racecourse is expected to be packed to the rafters on Dubai World Cup night after organisers prepare to welcome back capacity crowds within an 80,000-capacity venue.
The Chairman of Dubai Racing Club, Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, said: “We are so happy to have everyone back here for what will be a fantastic 26th running of the Dubai World Cup meeting. The atmosphere will be absolutely electrifying.”

“The quality of the horses, trainers, owners and jockeys who have assembled is better than ever and we are looking forward to a superb day of racing with our guests from around the world. I would like to thank our partners for their support and also the team at Dubai Racing Club, who have worked so hard to bring this meeting together.”
Dubai World Cup
From the time Cigar blew away his opposition at Nad Al Sheba at the inaugural meeting in 1996, to Thunder Snow’s stunning title defence in 2019, the Dubai World Cup meeting has gone from strength to strength, delivering some of the finest racing ever seen worldwide.

In 2021, the programme saw John Gosden’s Saudi Cup winner Mishriff make a sensational return to the turf and silence a strong Japanese contingent in the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, while Mystic Guide, trained by Michael Stidham for Godolphin, claim a third successive Group 1 Dubai World Cup victory for the royal blue silks of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

In 2022, the $12m Group 1 Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline, sees some of America’s top dirt performers go hoof to hoof against each other in the 2,000-metre dirt contest.
The Dubai World Cup renewal promises a fascinating clash between two of the best dirt horses in America in Todd Pletcher’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Pegasus World Cup winner Life Is Good, and Doug O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie, who hit the ground running in Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 on his only start in Dubai.

The pair will be joined by American counterparts Country Grammer and Midnight Bourbon, trained by US Hall Of Fame conditioner, Bob Baffert and Steve Asmussen, who run fresh from their respective second and third-place finishes in last month’s Saudi Cup at Riyadh.
The feature is supported by eight other equally gripping contests, including the $6 million 2,410m Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, where a strong Japanese contingent is expected again.
Tetsuya Kimura’s Neom Turf Cup winner Authority is among the favourites, but this year’s race is a wide-open one with Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby fielding one of his stable stars in Yibir, who was last seen winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar in November.

Shadwell will be represented by Owen Burrows’ Hukum, who enjoyed a highly productive 2021 campaign that saw him win four of his seven starts and begin 2022 with a narrow success in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold, run over the course and distance of the Sheema Classic.

Three more top tier events are also part of the evening’s programme, including the $5 m Group 1 Dubai Turf, sponsored by DP World, over 1,800m. The card’s two sprints are the $1.5m Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored by Azizi Developments, and the $2m Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, which this year will be sponsored by Atlantis Dubai.

These top tier events sit on top of a tidy undercard that features the $1 million Group 2 Godolphin Mile, sponsored by Nakheel, as well as the longest race on the card, which is the $1 million 3,200m Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup, sponsored by Al Tayer Motors.
Like the Dubai Golden Shaheen, the $1 million 2,000m Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic for Purebred Arabians has a new sponsor in Ithra Dubai and, as is tradition will get the prestigious Dubai World Cup card underway.

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