We’ve been waiting a year, and whether it’s the fashion or the sport you’re most looking forward to – the Dubai World Cup has it all. This year the horseracing is being held on Saturday March 30 at Meydan racecourse, with the first race at 3.45pm. Gates open at noon, so you’ll want to be heading over early to get the best views. The big race is at 8.50pm, with the post-race gig at 9.30pm. It’s time to get planning.
What’s the prize money?
The richest day of horseracing in the world has got even richer this year, as the prize fund for the day has been raised to a whopping US$35million (Dhs129m) – that’s a further US$5million on the 2018 prize pot. The Dubai World Cup raceday features nine races, including three top-level Group Ones. The star of the show – the Dubai World Cup, which is sponsored by Emirates Airline – has also received a boost and is now worth a massive US$12million (Dhs44m), US$2million (Dhs7m) up from this year’s US$10million (Dhs37m). The winner of the race will take home a cool US$7.2million (Dhs28m) – the highest first-place prize in global thoroughbred racing. The supporting races have also received a boost in prize money. The prize purse for the race had been US$10million since 2010 and until 2017 was the world’s richest horserace. The title was taken by US race the Pegasus World Cup – which offers up a massive US$16m.
Who’s going to win?
It’s a fiercely competitive race and we can’t wait to see these super horses take to the track. Last year’s Dubai World Cup was won by the British-trained Thunder Snow. The four-year-old put in a strong performance under Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillion in front of thousands of race fans, beating the international favourite West Coast by five and three quarter lengths, in a track record time of 2.01.38. Owned by Godolphin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s racing operation, it was a popular win for crowds on the day. The race marked a first World Cup win for Soumillion, a seventh for owners Godolphin (which is the winningmost owner in the race’s history) and an eighth for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor. The horse is expected to go well again this year, and is sure to be a popular winner if he does. He goes up against horses including North America, Cappezano and Muntazah.
The world-famous race was set up in 1996 by Sheikh Mohammed and is huge news on the global horseracing scene. The Group One race can be contested by Thoroughbred racehorses aged four and above. The first race was held at the now defunct Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in 1996, when it was won by the legendary US star Cigar, ridden by Jerry Bailey. The race has been held at Meydan since 2006.
What’s the weather going to be like?
The Dubai World Cup’s seen every season in the past few years. From pouring rain to glorious sunshine, the race goes on. This year the long-range forecast predicts highs of 30°C, with a light breeze and mostly sunshine. Remember the suncream.
What you waiting for?
We all know the Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest day in horse racing, so who better than the singer of Rich Girl to perform at it? International pop legend Gwen Stefani will be taking to the stage at the Apron Views from 9.30pm onwards. The concert will be open to all ticket-holders of the city’s huge event. This isn’t the first time Gwen Stefani made a grand appearance in Dubai, as she performed an amazing show back in 2017 in Business Bay. We can’t wait for what’s going to be a huge performance.
What to wear
Fold up that tatty skirt and put away your crumpled blazer – this is no time for your scruffs. The dresscode at Meydan racecourse is smart-casual, so it’s time to make an effort. There’s no need for tweed and you (hopefully) won’t require your wellies like you might in Blighty. The Dubai World Cup is one of the biggest events in both the sporting and social scenes – and people go all out. And it’s no surprise with massive prizes up for grabs for the best dressed. It’s time to find that perfect, showstopping hat. It’s not just the horses that will be strutting their stuff at the racetrack. Keep an eye out for where you can enter the competitions on the day.
Where to buy a ticket
Head online to the official website (www.dubaiworldcup.com) to snap up your tickets in advance. Apron Views – which includes the racing and aftershow concert – will set you back Dhs350. There’s a range of options from just entry to swanky sit-down meals (if you have a spare Dhs3,400 per person). There are also more casual options for food at Apron Views (including a Barasti and Flair No 5 pop-up). The race will also be shown on the Dubai Racing Channel, if you fancy watching from the comfort of your sofa. Of course timeoutdubai.com will be bringing you live coverage throughout the day with galleries of all the best outfits, hats and action from the track. Don’t miss it.
From Dhs350. Sat Mar 30. Gates open at noon, racing starts at 3.45pm. Meydan Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba, www.dubaiworldcup.com.
Dubai World Cup
The time in the evening that the big race kicks off at on Saturday March 30.
How much in dirhams it will cost you for Apron Views tickets to see the racing and Gwen Stefani.
The record time in which speedy racehorse Thunder Snow won last year.
The total prize money in dollars on offer throughout the day. Phew.