Plans in the early 1990s to build a state-of-the-art racecourse in Dubai, capable of attracting the world’s best racehorses, might have seemed ambitious but as with so many of the Maktoum family’s ground-breaking plans this was no pipedream.

The Emirates Racing Authority was founded in 1990 and just six years later, on the occasion of the first running of the Dubai World Cup, an astonishing new track was unveiled to the world at Nad Al Sheba.

Nad Al Sheba bears comparison with any modern sporting facility globally, and speaking to the Racing Post, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The Dubai World Cup is a challenge for horses, for people and for all of us here in Dubai. It is the challenge of testing the best with the best. We think that Dubai’s position on the map makes it the ideal place to hold a contest involving different hemispheres, different continents.

  • The Dubai Wold Cup was inaugurated in 1996.
  • The race is run over 10 furlongs every March in Dubai and is the richest in the world.
  • There have been runners from twelve different countries.
  • Five winners have been owned by Godolphin – Almutawakel, Dubai Millennium, Electrocutionist, Moon Ballad and Street Cry.
  • Eight have been trained in the USA – Cigar, Silver Charm, Captain Steve, Pleasantly Perfect, Roses in May, Invasor, Curlin and Well Armed.
  • Jerry Bailey has ridden four winners.

“We believe that the Nad Al Sheba track’s configuration and surface gives us the fairest of arenas in which to compete. We are sure we can offer a welcome like nowhere else on the globe, for horses have always been part of our culture, and of course it was from Arabian stallions mated to English mares that the breed of thoroughbred first evolved. What a thought that each of these fine runners flown in for the Dubai World Cup traces right back to native horses from this part of the world.”

The Group One Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world ever since its inauguration, takes place over 10 furlongs in late March each year in Dubai and is open to Northern Hemisphere bred four-year-olds and older and Southern Hemisphere bred three-year-olds and older.

The 2009 Dubai World Cup was the final race to be held on the dirt track at Nad Al Sheba racecourse, as Meydan, the new racecourse being built in Dubai will host the 2010 Dubai World Cup and its associated races.