Plan your day at the Dubai World Cup and make the most of style and sport
The biggest event on the horse racing calendar turns 20 this year. Here’s how to enjoy the day to the full.
1 Get tips in the lead-up Get in the mood for the biggest race of the equine events calendar at the ‘One to Watch’ dinner. Join racing pundit Harry Tregoning, top jockey Richard Mullen, Irish horse trainer David Marnane and sports journalist Rupert Bell for night of sporting debate over dinner at champion jockey Frankie Dettori’s restaurant, Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill in JBR. The night will be fun for those who have been watching the races since the beginning of the season, and those who want to swot up on some racing knowledge ahead of the big day will be sure to enjoy it too. Dhs400. March 25, 7pm. Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill, Oasis Beach Tower, JBR, www.frankiesdubai.com (04 399 4311).
2 Choose your vantage point Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse was designed for this event. No matter where you’re seated – from Apron Views to one of the 72 hospitality suites or the luxurious Sky Bubble – you’ll be well fed and watered and won’t miss a second of the action. Apron Views is one of the liveliest and most popular areas located between the track and the grandstand. It hosts the Jaguar Style Stakes and you’ll be up close to the post-race concert stage. You can enjoy a variety of food and beverages from food court, but be sure to bring cash as cards are not accepted. At Tiered Restaurant, guests will start their day with afternoon tea and continue with a five-course set menu. The Sky Bubble offers 360-degree views of Dubai’s skyline, making it an ideal spot from which to enjoy the pre-race canapés. The premium Meydan Lounge is sold out, but tickets are still available in the plush Meydan Room, where guests can watch the races from the front-facing balcony, enjoy afternoon tea and an international buffet. Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba (04 327 0000).
The competition isn’t just on the track at the Dubai World Cup. Enter the Jaguar Style Stakes and you could drive away with a brand-new Jaguar F-Type Coupé for a year. Participants must be over 21 and some categories are for UAE residents only. There are prizes for Best Dressed Lady, Best Hat, Best Dressed Man and much more. The Jaguar Style Stakes Arena will be located in Apron Views and registration is at 2pm to 3.30pm. Judging is from 4.30pm. Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba (04 327 0000).
4 Book a pre-race brunch Set yourself up for a long day with a pre-World Cup brunch at McGettigan’s. Make it a meeting point for your friends and enjoy a buffet of filling hearty Irish food and drinks, before you head to the races. Those brunching can get into high spirits with live entertainment from one of Ireland’s top bands, The Riptide Movement. Diners also have the option to take a shuttle bus to the venue. Dhs199 per person for unlimited food (à la carte and buffet) and unlimited house drinks. Noon-4pm. McGettigan’s Dubai World Trade Centre, Downtown Dubai, www.mcgettigans.com (04 378 0816).
5 Arrive in style Make heads turn before they even see your fascinator by arriving in a limo. Gather your friends and share the ride to make sure you not only get there in comfort but avoid the inevitable rush for taxis. Dubai Exotic Limo is offering a special discount for race-goers. From Dhs2,500 for a minimum of ten hours (reduced from Dhs3,250) for a ten-seater limo. Larger vehicles are also available. Choose between a Lincoln, Chrysler or a Dodge Charger subject to availability. Dubai Exotic Limo, www.dubaiexoticlimo.com (800 5466).
6 Sign up for the prize draw To add to the sporting excitement, race-goers can enter the prize draw and stand the chance to win a share of at least a Dhs12,000 cash prize. As you enter the gates officials will hand you a ‘Pick 6’ form and a racecard. Pack a pen so you can fill it out in good time, as the cards must be submitted by 3.45pm. To enter, just fill in the horses that you think will win in the six nominated races, colour in the number, and write your details on the top. There are collection points throughout Meydan so you won’t miss out on a chance to win, regardless of where you’re seated. If it’s your lucky day, you’ll know after the last race on the night so listen out for your numbers.
7 Don’t miss the first race The horn for the first race of the 20th Dubai World Cup will sound at 4pm and the first of nine races programmed will get underway. The racecard consists of eight thoroughbred races and opens with only the Purebred Arabian challenge in the event, the Dubai Kahayla Classic (group 1), a 2,000 metre race. The winner will take away US$1million (Dhs3.6 million).
8 And definitely don’t miss the last!
It might be a long day but the last race is the big money 2,000 metre race and one not to be missed. There’s US$10 million (Dhs36 million) up for grabs, and popular horses such as last year’s winner African Story, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, will be hoping to make the headlines again.
9 Get yourself to the biggest post-race concert yet The Dubai World Cup Show has become as much a crowd pleaser as the horses, and this year Australian pop star Kylie Minogue is set wow the crowds at the post-race concert. The award-winning singer will entertain with a 90-minute set filled with pop hits. The show is scheduled to start at 10pm and promises to be a memorable end to this year’s World Cup. Previous stars to light up the Meydan stage include Seal, Toni Braxton and Jennifer Lopez. Dubai World Cup, from Dhs450 for Apron Views with access to the post-race concert. March 28, 2pm-12.30am. Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba, www.dubairacingclub.com (04 327 0077).
Wake up calls
Don’t forget the event is on a school night, so start the next day with a hearty breakfast delivered straight to your desk or home.
Clinton Street Baking Company This café delivers to Downtown, DIFC and Business Bay and serves breakfast all day so no matter what time you lift your head from the pillow you can call in for a hearty omelette or pancakes covered in maple butter. Daily 8am-5pm, 6pm- 11pm. Burj Views, Downtown Dubai, www.clintonstreetbaking.ae (04 428 1331, ext 120).
Pascal Tepper French Bakery Have a basket of freshly baked French pastries and breads and smooth coffee delivered to your desk from this bakery. The café delivers around New Dubai including to Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Dubai Media City, The Lakes, Emirates Hills and JBR. Daily 7am-9pm. Atlas Business Centre, Pfizer Building, Dubai Media City, www.pascaltepperfrenchbakery.com (04 440 9302, ext 725)
Yello! The Egg Café Have free-range eggs made any way you like here. Enjoy an Arabic breakfast of eggs with halloumi, foul and Karak chai for Dhs28 or get the shakshouka for Dhs18. Your fix of Omega 3 and protein will be delivered around Old Dubai, including Oud Metha, Deira and Karama. Daily 8am-3pm breakfast deliveries. Shop 3, Amal Yousuf Baqer Building, Opposite Lamcy Plaza, Oud Metha, www.yelloeggcafe.com (04 396 5540).
Extra World Cup activities
Interactive exhibition Check out the unique exhibition that explores the development story of Dubai and its impressive horse racing heritage. Located in the Meydan Theatre, the collection was first showcased at Newmarket racecourse at the 2014 Dubai Future Champions Day, and now visitors at Meydan can learn about the sport’s growth in Dubai. The exhibition concludes with a Dubai World Cup-inspired photo booth providing visitors with a keepsake of their visit, horse racing buffs will also see the official trophy on display. Free. Not open on Dubai World Cup day. Reopens April 3, until May 1. 9am-1pm.
Breakfast with the stars, March 26 Have breakfast at the Meydan Hotel with the star racehorses as they take their morning track work. Real racing fans will enjoy seeing the horses put through their paces and the exciting morning features live commentary, entertainment, raffle draws, interviews with the trainers, owners and jockeys as well as a full breakfast buffet. Dhs325 (adults), Dhs175 (kids). Morning track work 6am-9am. Breakfast will be served from 7am–9.30am. Book tickets online at www.dubaiworldcup.com.