x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

On course for glory

World class facilities and competition mean the Dubai World Cup is now one of the most prestigious events on the horseracing calender.

Not even the spectre of a sandstorm was going to keep the punters away. A capacity crowd of 60,000 yesterday descended on Meydan for the 16th edition of the Dubai World Cup, as the eyes of the horseracing world turned to the UAE.

The racecourse, holding the race for only the second time, now has improved views and outlets compared to the temporary facilities Nad al Sheba offered. Visitors have access to more hospitality seats, standing terraces and air-conditioned areas, not to mention the five-star hotel at the venue. For owners, trainers, jockeys and fans, the world's richest race with a prize of $10 million reaffirmed its status as the standout event in Dubai's sporting and social calendars.

"The Dubai World Cup is gaining in prestige as some of the best horses in the world are taking part in it," said Henry Cecil, who trains the thoroughbred Twice Over. "The more the Dubai World Cup is better-contested by the world's top horses, the higher the prestige will be."

Despite its relative novelty, the Cup is in fact gaining ground on the world's best races like the King George, the Arc and the Breeders' Cup Classic in terms of racing performance.

The quality of the participants, as well as the world class facilities, means the Dubai World Cup could match the prestige of those events sooner rather than later.