2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival which gets underway at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday January 5, 2017, is one of the most exciting racing spectacles in the world.
Horseracing began in the Emirate of Dubai in October 1981, when the dusty Camel Track hosted the first Thoroughbred racemeeting. Three races were run – a sprint, a mile and a mile and a half, organised by the office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, now Dubai is one of the Horse Racing capitals of the world.
The Dubai World Cup Carnival features 217 accepted horses from 18 countries with 19 Group 1 winners, 10 Group 2 winners and 25 Group 3 winners among them.
A number of exciting horses are set to make the trip to Dubai’s winter sunshine this January where they will compete for a share of the $10,925,000 prize money across 61 Thoroughbred and four Group Purebred Arabian races held outside Dubai World Cup day.
On the list is the Roger Varian-trained Postponed, who initiated a Group 1 winning spree last season with victory in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold during the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
His successful stint in Dubai ended with a win in the Group 1 Longines Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup day before returning to the United Kingdom and landing the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup at and the Juddmonte International at York.
Also returning to Meydan Racecourse is the 2016 Dubai Gold Cup champion, Vazirabad, trained by French handler, Alain De Royer Dupre, who claimed the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak in October while the duel code Irish St Leger star, Wicklow Brave, trained by Irish legend, Willie Mullins has also been accepted.
The William Haggas-trained Mutakayyef, third in Canada’s Group 1 Woodbine Mile Stakes last season is set to make the trip while globetrotting Big Orange, fresh from a visit to Australia where he was tenth in the Melbourne Cup and third in the Group 2 Zipping Classic has also been aimed at the Dubai World Cup Carnival by trainer, Michael Bell.
Meydan stalwart, Sole Power, trained to Al Quoz Sprint victory in 2015 by Eddie Lynam, is set to be campaigned for a record sixth season in Dubai, overtaking King Jock as the horse to appear at the most Dubai World Cup Carnivals.
Meanwhile South African handler, Mike De Kock, the most successful international trainer of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is to be represented by a strong team. These include 2015 UAE Derby winner and 2016 Dubai World Cup runner up, Mubtaahij back at Meydan following a second stint in the US where he was second in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes.
Familiar faces Ertijaal, Anaerobio and Sanshaawes will be joined by new blood including Investec Dingaans and Grand Parade Cape Guineas winner Noah from Goa, Argentine galloper, Sultaran Dubai and useful filly, Fursa, winner of the Grade 2 SA Nursery in South Africa.
Success Story, the first South Korean runner to contest the Dubai World Cup Carnival recorded a historic third to California Chrome in the 2016 Dubai World Cup winner’s 2000m prep race and South Korea is back with seven more representatives for the new term.
“The Dubai World Cup Carnival continues to attract some of the most exciting horses in global racing,” said Malih Lahej Al Basti, Meydan Group Vice Chairman and Chairman of Meydan Racing Committee. “This season we made some changes to the Dubai World Cup Carnival programme and we are pleased with the response from the racing community. Meydan represents the world stage of horse racing and we are delighted to welcome back many returning horses and connections as well as fresh challengers for the new season.
“Meydan Group provides generous subsidies to runners of the Dubai World Cup Carnival while prize money, which went up this season, is among the highest in the world. We look forward to welcoming the runners and connections of the Dubai World Cup Carnival and anticipate an exciting three months of top-quality racing.”
Changes to the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival:
The minimum purse for a Dubai World Cup Carnival Handicap now stands at $100,000 while the Dubai World Cup day Al Quoz Sprint has been increased in distance from 1000m to 1200m and replaces the Dubai Golden Shaheen as the UAE leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
The $1m turf sprint now represents the culmination of a newly-implemented 1200m turf division featuring five key Dubai World Cup Carnival handicaps and including the new $200,000 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint on Super Saturday.
Trainers opting for the 1000m turf dash still have the option of three handicap races before the running of the Group 3 $175,000 Meydan Sprint held on Thursday February 16.
The 1200m turf campaign runs alongside the dirt programme over the same trip with those following a campaign benefitting from five build-up races including the Group 3 $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday prior to the Group 1 $2m Dubai Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup day.
Prize money across the Dubai World Cup Carnival has been increased by $467,500 over the ten meetings up to and including Super Saturday.
In other changes the Curlin Handicap, a 2000m dirt race used as prep for the 2016 Dubai World Cup by this year’s winner, California Chrome, has now been upgraded to a Listed contest.
Among the stayers’ divisions, the 2810m turf handicap, previously held in the first week of February, has been brought forward to the second Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting in January and a new 3200m handicap inserted into the programme in its stead, giving trainers the option of prepping for the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup held over the same trip on Dubai World Cup day or targeting the 2810m Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy on Thursday February 23.