Meydan is preparing to host some of the biggest names in horseracing this season with the release of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival programme, worth more than US $37m in prize money.
The Dubai World Cup Carnival, which gets underway on Thursday January 9, 2014, features 11 high-class race meetings at Meydan Racecourse, including Super Saturday on March 8, 2014 and the season-ending $27.25m Dubai World Cup day on Saturday March 29, 2014.
The new season sees a number of changes to the programme, designed to offer connections more options when planning Dubai race campaigns.
The 3,200m $1m Dubai Gold Cup, held on Dubai World Cup day, has been upgraded from a Group 3 to a Group 2 and the $175,000 Meydan Sprint, held over 1,000m of the turf track on Super Saturday has now moved up from a Listed race to a Group 3.
Three Conditions Races have been upgraded to Listed status and will serve as prep races for big-money Dubai World Cup Carnival contests.
The 1800m Singspiel Stakes, held on the turf track on the opening day of the Dubai World Cup Carnival carries increased prize money of $150,000. It will prep horses for the Group 2 $200,000 Al Rashidiya over the same distance on Thursday January 30. While still a Conditions race, this race was won by Godolphin’s Sharestan in 2013, the Mike de Kock-trained Mahbooba in 2012 and Roger Teal’s Steele Tango in 2011.
The Dubawi Stakes over 1200m of the all-weather on Thursday January 16, is now worth $150,000. It is the prep for the Group 3 $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint, a contest in the same race preparation as the Group 1 $2m Dubai Golden Shaheen. SatishSeemar’sReynaldothewizard claimed this race in 2013 en route to his victory in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, while Captain Obvious won it for Singapore-based Steven Burridge in 2012 and De Kock’s Our Giant took the race in 2011.
The Dubai Millennium now offers trainers a Listed race, worth $200,000 and run over 2000m of the turf track on Thursday February 20, 2014. This allows horses to prep for a range of Dubai World Cup-day options, including the two $5m turf races in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free or the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic or the big one, the $10m Group 1 Dubai World Cup.
Godolphin have dominated this race over the last two seasons with Quick Wit and Simon De Montfort winning in 2013 and 2012 respectively and Steele Tango once again in the money in 2011.
The Al Fahidi Fort turf race, formerly held over 1600m during the seventh Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting, has been brought down in trip to 1400m and moved to the third meeting, which this season falls on Thursday January 23. The $125,000 Meydan Classic, held on Thursday February 27, 2014 has also been brought down in trip from 1600m to 1400m.
Martin Talty, International Manager at Dubai Racing Club said the changes had been made to further refine and develop the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
“We wanted to develop our 1400m programme and noted that there were not many races of the status of the Al Fahidi Fort over that distance around the world. We wanted to open the race up a bit so that it ties in with the Zabeel Mile held five weeks later, which can be used to prep for Dubai World Cup day races.”
Talty added that newly-upgraded Dubai Millennium would give trainers extra options when prepping for valuable Group 1 races on Dubai World Cup day.
“This 2000m race was named after the great Dubai Millennium and fits into our schedule on February 20, where it is four weeks out from Dubai World Cup night and horses can use it to prepare for any of the three final races on the Dubai World Cup-day card, the Dubai Duty Free, the Dubai Sheema Classic or the Dubai World Cup.”
The Gold Cup, now upgraded to a Group 2 was also earmarked for future growth, said Talty.
“This race became a Group 3 in 2010 and moved to the Dubai World Cup programme in 2012. It is a race that has become attractive to trainers with stayers from around the world and hopefully in years to come it will take another step up to a Group 1, adding further value to the Dubai World Cup card."