x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Racing in UAE a winner in 2010

It seems an awfully long time ago that Well Armed stormed the home straight to win the final Dubai World Cup to be held at Nad al Sheba racecourse.

It may only be a matter of months, but it seems an awfully long time ago that Well Armed stormed the home straight to win the final Dubai World Cup to be held at Nad al Sheba racecourse. Indeed, Dubai World Cup 2009 took place in another era. In those days Nad al Sheba's familiar turf and dirt tracks, which used to circle the much-loved lake and golf course, all overseen by the homely grandstand, formed the epicentre of racing in the region.

Now, when you turn your back on the needling skycrapers of Sheikh Zayed Road and head towards Dubai's horseracing country, Meydan looms slickly shiny and almost obscenely large on the horizon. It is the brainchild of Godolphin founder, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and it will be open for a much anticipated first race meeting on January 28, 2010. To say the racing world is watching with keen interest would be an understatement. Meydan is unique and it's progress, completion, launch and subsequent reception by the racing world is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the industry.

The world's most successful jockeys, trainers and owners want to be a part of it and Dubai World Cup 2010, with it's honey-pot prize fund of US$10 million (Dh36.7m) will have no trouble in attracting even the most high-flying of connections to the desert. Dubai's own Godolphin operation will be out in force. The Al Quoz-based yard's staggering form at the end of the 2009 European season saw them claim more than 40 winners in October and stable jockey, Frankie Dettori has already warned that Godolphin will bring a full-strength home team for the January to March International Racing Carnival season.

stregoning@thenational.ae