x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Extra race added to World Cup

Talk of an eighth race being in the pipeline was confirmed yesterday with the announcement of a second six-furlong contest worth Dh3.67million.

DUBAI // Meydan is set to attract some of the world's highest-rated turf sprinters this season with the addition of an extra race, worth US$1million (Dh3.67m), to the 15th Dubai World Cup card in March. Talk of an eighth race being in the pipeline was confirmed yesterday with the announcement of a second six furlong contest, the Group Three Al Quoz Sprint, to complement the existing $2m Group One Dubai Golden Shaheen.

With the Dubai World Cup boosted from its previous purse of $6m to $10m, the total prize fund for the richest night of racing now stands at $26.25m. A six furlong straight sprint course was added to Meydan's new left-handed, 2,400m turf track at the design stage, giving Dubai Racing Club the option to introduce a turf sprint alongside what will this year be a sprint on the 1,750 metre Tapeta track situated inside the turf.

Traditionally the Golden Shaheen was staged on the now extinct dirt of the old Nad al Sheba race track, and attracted some of the best sprinters from the US. However, it could not tempt Europe and Australia's best sprint contenders, who perform on turf. That is likely to change now that trainers have the option of preparing their horses for either a turf or an all-weather sprint race at Meydan. "The highest-rated sprinters in the world are predominantly turf horses and with the rich history of the Golden Shaheen attracting the best from the USA, we will now attract the best turf sprinters in the world with the addition of Al Quoz Sprint," said Meydan board member, Malih al Basti.

"It is positioned perfectly on the international calendar to enable horses to run in Dubai and then go on to international sprints either at Royal Ascot or Singapore." @Email:stregoning@thenational.ae