In 1996, the richest horse racing event in the world was inaugurated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), at the famous Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. Every year since then, horse racing enthusiasts look forward to the holding of the Dubai World Cup.
The Dubai World Cup is operated through the Emirates Racing Authority, the internationally recognized governing body for horse racing in the UAE. This organization is chaired by no less than H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Presidential Affairs. Sheikh Mansour is himself an accomplished horse rider.
This Thoroughbred horse racing event was the brainchild of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed is the owner of one of the leading Thoroughbred breeding and racing businesses in the world – the Darley Stud and Godolphin Racing. The Dubai World Cup is the most prestigious and highly anticipated part of the Dubai World Cup Night of races, a series of 6 Thoroughbred horse races.
The event is a G1, or Classic, flat race run over a distance of 2,000 m, or 9.94 fur. It is held annually around late March. Its inaugural winner (1996) was Cigar, named “the Racehorse of the Decade of the 1990s,” who clocked 2:03.84. Cigar was owned by the late American Thoroughbred racehorse breeder Allen E. Paulson.
Here’s a rundown of the succeeding winners from 1997 to 2011. Only the horses’ names, their owners, and their respective clocked time (minutes) are included:
1997 – Singspiel (Ireland), owned by Sheikh Mohammed; clocked 2:01.91.
1998 – Silver Charm (USA), owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis; clocked 2:00.00.
1999 – Almutawakel (Great Britain), owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum; clocked 2:00.65.
2000 – Dubai Millennium (Great Britain), owned by Godolphin Racing; clocked 1:59.50.
2001 – Captain Steve (USA), owned by Michael E. Pegram; clocked 2:00.40.
2002 – Street Cry (Ireland), owned by Godolphin Racing; clocked 2:01.18.
2003 – Moon Ballad (Ireland), owned by Godolphin Racing; clocked 2:00.48.
2004 – Pleasantly Perfect (USA), owned by Diamond A Racing Corp.; clocked 2:00.24.
2005 – Roses in May (USA), owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey; clocked 2:02.17.
2006 – Electrocutionist (USA), owned by Godolphin Racing; clocked 2:01.32.
2007 – Invasor (Argentina), owned by Shadwell Stable; clocked 1:59.97.
2008 – Curlin (USA), owned by Stonestreet/Midnight Cry Stables; clocked 2:00.15.
2009 – Well Armed (USA), owned by WinStar Farm LLC; clocked 2:01.01.
2010 – Glória De Campeão (Brazil), owned by Stefan Friborg clocked 2:03.83
2011 – Victoire Pisa (Japan), owned by Yoshimi Ichikawa clocked 2:05.94
Here are some of the records established during the 14 years that the Dubai World Cup has been held so far:
• Fastest time: 1:59.50, by Dubai Millennium, in the 2000 race.
• Most wins by an owner: four, by Godolphin Racing, in the 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2006 races.
• Most wins by a jockey: four, by Jerry Bailey, in the 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2002 races.
• Most wins by a trainer: five, by Saeed bin Suroor, in the 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2006 races.
Interestingly, there’s no record yet for the most number of wins by a horse, as none has so far won the Dubai World Cup more than once.
The next staging of the event, the 2012 Dubai World Cup, will open on March 26, 2012 at 60,000-seat racing facility Meydan Racecourse. With a staggering purse of 10 million US dollars (USD 10mn) offered for this staging, it is no wonder that the Dubai World Cup is billed the “world’s richest horse race.”