Dubai racing news

Meydan racecourse on track for Jan opening

The Dhs10bn Meydan grandstand and racecourse - home to the world's richest horse race - is on track to open for the start of the Dubai 2010 race season in January, its developers said on Tuesday.

The Dubai World Cup - with a prize pot of $10m - will be held on March 27, with the race season set to kick off on January 28.

The grandstand, which is the world's largest at 1.6km - the equivalent of 22 Boeing 747s - was unveiled to media for the first time during a tour on Tuesday.

Part of a wider 200 million sq ft development, including a business hub, IMAX theatre, villas and high rise apartments, Meydan's chairman, Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, said he was "confident about our project and moving forward."

"The recent economic difficulties of the world is a challenge for everyone and we are working with our partners to ensure that this development is a successful one," Al Tayer said.

"I think the whole world is dealing with a challenge, just like the challenge of making this dream become a reality. Hopefully Meydan should speak for itself. You have seen what's been accomplished."

Having flattened the existing Nad Al Sheba racecourse, home to the Dubai World Cup for the last 14 years, the developers were bound to deliver this project on time. Work began in June 2007 with the crescent roof finally fitted in April this year.

The grandstand, which also boasts the world's longest LED screen, can accommodate 98,000 people at full capacity - 17,500 seated and 80,500 standing.

Organisers said they expected about 300,000 people to attend the 10 races in Dubai's 2010 horse race calendar.

"We're really excited about the programme. I think we'll see some great horses racing throughout the carnival, but especially on the Dubai World Cup," Frank Gabriel Jr, Dubai Racing Club CEO said during a press conference at the development.

"Dubai World Cup will start and finish in front of the grandstand. It will be the first time in 15 years. As we know as anticipation builds, I think we'll feel the energy building. It will be a great night."

Meydan facts and figures

Meydan grandstand is 5,166 ft (1.6km)

The Meydan hotel has 290 rooms and suites

Falcon car park has 8,622 parking bays

The horse tunnel is 2km

Rooftop Bubble Lounge is 787 ft long and has capacity for 4,500 people

Once complete the development will have a marina with a link to Dubai Creek

As for the races, there are three double headers this year on Feb 4 and 5, Feb 18 and 19 and March 4 and 5

The racecourse has two tracks a turf track and an all weather track

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The al fresco theme park will be opening its gates with a new show

The critically acclaimed Shakespeare play will be performed in January

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