Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, UAE, is home to the world-renowned Dubai World Cup, an almost 26 years old thoroughbred horse race. The annual competition is operated by the ERA, Emirates Racing Authority, chaired by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE’s minister for Presidential Affairs.
The Dubai Racing Club hosts the Dubai World Cup, among other race meets organised at Meydan Racecourse from November to March. The Dubai World Cup is the final feature of the Dubai World Cup night. It is held on the last Saturday of March and is one of the world’s richest horse races.
Here is a detailed account of the Dubai World Cup and how it was introduced.
Dubai World Cup race details
The Dubai World Cup is a Group I flat thoroughbred race reserved for horses from the Northern Hemisphere aged four and above; and thoroughbreds from the Southern Hemisphere aged three and above.
The race is held on the dirt track at Meydan Racecourse and runs over a distance of 2000m. The race is held annually on the Dubai World Cup Night on last Saturday in March.
Dubai World Cup History
The Dubai World Cup was introduced in 1996. The Prime Minister, Vice President of UAE and Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum created the race.
The Dubai Racing Club was formed in January 1992, and the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse was established in March of the same year. Following the opening of the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, the Dubai International Jockeys’ Challenge was introduced in 1993. Jockeys from UAE, Japan, Australia, Europe and USA participated in the event.
The Dubai International Jockeys’ Challenge eventually made way for the launch of the Dubai World Cup in 1996. This event put the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse and UAE at the forefront of horse racing in the world. The first race was won by Cigar, the American champion sprinter who was later inducted into the Hall of Fame in the USA.
Till 2009, the Dubai World Cup was held at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. In 2010, the race was organised at Meydan Racecourse. The race took place on 27th March 2010 at the Tapeta track in Meydan Racecourse.
The race helped Meydan Racecourse gain international recognition and became highly popular as a world-class racing facility. The first inaugural race at Meydan Racecourse saw a Brazilian sprinter winning the cup for the first time. Gloria de Campeao was hence the first Brazilian Champion at the Dubai World Cup.
The following year, Victoire Pisa put Japan on the winners’ list of the coveted Dubai World Cup. The Tapeta track at Meydan, where the Dubai World Cup was earlier held, comprised a synthetic all-weather surface.
However, the track was not very popular with American participants and required high maintenance and costs. Consequently, the race was held on the dirt track from 2015 onwards.
Since its creation in 1996, the Dubai World Cup has been held every year, except in 2019, when the event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Throughout the race’s history, the only horse to have won the race twice is Thunder Snow. The Dubai-based sprinter owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor won the race twice in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
What Was The Fastest Dubai World Cup Win Ever?
Dubai Millennium holds the speed record for the fastest race at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. The sprinter finished the race in 1:59.50 in 2000.
African Story holds the record for the fastest race on the synthetic course at Meydan Racecourse. He finished the race in 2:01.61.
Thunder Snow holds the record for the fastest race on the dirt course at Meydan Racecourse. He finished the race in 2:01.38.
Who holds the record for the most wins at Dubai World Cup?
Thunder Snow from Dubai is the only runner to have won the race twice in 2018 and 2019.
Which owner and trainer hold the record for the most wins at Dubai World Cup?
Godolphin Racing holds the record for the most wins as owner, having won 9 times. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor holds the record for the most wins, having won 9 times).
What is the prize money for Dubai World Cup?
Since 2019, the Dubai World Cup has a purse of US $12 million, making it the world’s richest race. The prize money has enabled the event to reclaim the world’s most expensive race title, replacing the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, US, which held the title in 2017 and 2018, respectively.