Why will this be the best World Cup ever?
Because it’s the first to be held at Meydan. On March 27, race fans will take their seats in the venue’s Dhs10billion grandstand: at 1.6km long, it can accommodate up to 60,000 guests and offers unrivalled views of the 1.75km all-weather track and 2.4km turf track. And with a 107-metre-wide LED screen (the world’s largest, of course!) you’ll be able catch the photo finish on a grand scale.
At 8.50pm on race day, expect an opening ceremony extravaganza, described by Dubai Racing Club team as ‘a historical and emotional journey through Dubai’s history, equine heritage and the creation of Meydan’. There will be extensive entertainment options, so grab a race programme when you arrive to check out the schedule and plan your day.
How do I get there hassle-free?
Public gates open at 12pm and hospitality gates open at 2pm. Meydan is easy to find once you’re on the Dubai-Al Ain road, but there’s likely to be a bit of a bottleneck getting into the venue. Dubai Racing Club advises arriving by taxi to avoid traffic jams. However, the taxi queue is likely to be lengthy after the event, so try to avoid arriving and leaving at peak times.
What do I have to pay?
There are several ticket options, starting with the basic Apron Views ticket at Dhs350 and Meydan Terrace at Dhs750. Premium Seating tickets start at Dhs800, rising to Dhs1,000, while a Parade Ring ticket is Dhs2,750, and a Tier Restaurant ticket is Dhs3,000. If you want to view the Elton John concert up close, add on Dhs250 for the Golden Circle area and Dhs350 for the Golden Circle Premium area, or you can upgrade your existing ticket. Alternatively, you can listen to the concert from your trackside seat and watch the whole thing on the giant LED screen.
Ones to watch
Martin Talty from Dubai Racing Club first went to the races in Australia in the ’70s because it was the only place with colour TV – and he’s had the bug ever since. Here are his hot tips.
(Total prize money more than Dhs35million)
Gloria De Campeao (Brazil)
‘He ran second last year, and his two runs here this year have been really good. He’s in peak form at the right time – he’ll definitely be the horse to beat.’ Gio Ponti (US) ‘He’s one of the top horses in America and he’s been aimed at this race since last year. He has to be respected.’
Dubai Duty Free
(Total prize money more than Dhs18million)
‘He was second in the race last year, and his run on Super Thursday was outstanding.’
Fillies with flair
On race day you’ll find Dubai’s fashion fans battling it out in the Style Stakes competition (open to any guests over the age of 21), which will judge ‘Best Dressed Lady’ ‘Best Dressed Couple’ and ‘Best Hat’. Here are our tips to give you the edge.
Register before 4.45pm: being late is not fashionable here.
Leave your hat on: a bare head will make you ineligible for the competition. Don’t want to wear a hat? Fascinators are also acceptable.
Cover up: this is a competition to decide who has the most style on show, not the most skin. Miniskirts and plunging necklines need not apply.
It’s a day party: evening gowns won’t woo the judges.
Inside tips: the judges are looking for outfits that are coordinated, show attention to detail, are original and on-trend.
What I’ll be wearing…
Naila Hourani, creative director of Cherry on Top Events
‘I’ve chosen this Monet-esque floral print chiffon Phillip Lim dress from S*uce, offset by a white Felix Rey flower headband. It’s a subtle headpiece, perfect for Dubai weather and a great way to celebrate the arrival of spring!’