An action-packed Dubai World Cup came to an exciting close on Saturday, March 27.
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Godolphin’s Mystic Guide, ridden by Luis Saez, won the $12 million Dubai World Cup.
The Meydan Racecourse witnessed some intense, close calls, that had everyone on the edge of their seats.
Here is how the action unfolded:
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Mystic Guide wins $12 million Dubai World Cup
Godolphin’s Mystic Guide, ridden by Luis Saez, won the $12 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday.
The battle on the dirt over 2000 metres, the biggest race in the world of horse racing, saw a ruthless display in the home stretch from the American horse at the Meydan racecourse.
After a seesaw battle for the lead, Mystic Guide began to take control before finishing the race well ahead of Japanese horse Chuwa Wizard and American runner Magny Cours.
This was Mystic Guide’s second victory in last three starts.
Mystic Guide’s victory also gave Godolphin its third straight win in the Dubai World Cup, with Thunder Snow, trained by Emirati Saeed bin Suroor, becoming the first horse to win back-to-back Dubai titles (2018 and 2019).
Mystic Guide’s stunning victory brought the curtain down the 25th Dubai World Cup.
Mishriff wins $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic
Irish star Mishriff overcame a spirited challenge from a couple of Japanese fillies to win the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic at the Meydan racecourse on Saturday.
Less than a month after winning in Saudi Arabia on the dirt, Mishriff, ridden by David Egan, showed his class on the turf over 2410 metres in Dubai, overcoming a slow start to claim the eighth race of the night at the Dubai World Cup.
Second-placed Chrono Genesis and third-placed Loves Only You were in with a chance for glory in the thrilling battle, but Mishriff showed the strength in the home stretch to claim his sixth win in 10 career 10 starts.
Legendary Italian jockey Frankie Dettori won his first Dubai Turf since 1997, guiding Lord North to an impressive victory in the $4 million Dubai Turf at the Meydan racecourse on Saturday.
The Irish horse finished the turf battle over 1800m ahead of Japanese horse Vin De Garde and British runner Felix.
This was the first win in nine months for Lord North, the six-year-old gelding of the legendary Dubawi.
Fresu survives after Zenden wins Golden Shaheen
American horse Zenden won the $1,500,000 Dubai Golden Shaheen, the sixth race of the Dubai World Cup, at the Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.
Ridden by Antonio Fresu, Zenden finished the race ahead of Japanese horse Red Le Zele and Irish horse Canvassed.
Fresu, though, had a miraculous escape as the Italian jockey fell off Zenden, landing on his backside, after getting the American horse over the finish line.
The jockey eventually got back on his feet, bringing relief to the nervous connections.
Rebel’s Romance wins UAE Derby
Ridden by William Buick, Rebel’s Romance brought Godolphin to the winner’s party with a clinical display at the UAE Derby, the 1900m race on the dirt.
In the battle for the $750,000 race, it was Panadol that took the lead. But Rebel’s Romance changed gears after the race reached the 1200m mark, before the clinching the deal with a strong finish.
Panadol, the early leader, finished the race a distant second, while Irish horse New Treasure took the third place.
Extravagant Kid does it for America
Extravagant Kid became the first American horse to win a turf race in the Dubai World Cup, with a thrilling win in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint at the Meydan racecourse on Saturday.
Ridden by Ryan Moore, Extravagant Kid produced a stunning come-from-behind victory, leaving Godolphin’s Final Song in second place.
In what was a thrilling finish, Irish horse Aclam Express took the third position.
Meydan track was perfect for Subjectivist: Mark Johnston
Mark Johnston hailed the world-class track at the Meydan racecourse after Subjectivist’s scorching run in the Dubai Gold Cup ended the British trainer’s drought in the Dubai World Cup.
“This is the first winner in the Dubai World Cup after 21 years or 22 years. The horses are run well, but people start to say if we are doing our job properly. Frankly we had not been bringing the right horses,”
Johnston said after Subjectivist’s comprehensive victory in the turf battle over 3200 metres.
“So this the first time we have come here today, thinking, surely this horse, is the one to beat. He was a Group 1 winner in his last outing. He didn’t have to improve on that. He just had to run up to his best. And I don’t think I have a seen tougher track in the world, in better condition. So I was feeling there was no reason why he would not perform up to his best (at Meydan).”
Subjectivist takes Dubai Gold Cup honours
It’s been a good day for British horses so far at the Dubai World Cup, with Subjectivist winning the Dubai Gold Cup with remarkable ease.
Subjectivist won after Britain’s Secret Ambition had taken the Godolphin Mile honours.
Ridden by Joseph Fanning, the four-year-old Subjectivist was in great rhythm in the Group 2 turf battle over 3200 metres, finishing ahead of Walderbe and Away He Goes.
Satish Seemar delighted with Secret Ambition win
Even the face mask failed to hide the joy on Satish Seemar’s face after the Indian trainer won his first Godolphin Mile with Secret Ambition on Saturday.
“He has been there in every race and I think he is the most deserving winner in this field, the most experienced and it was perfect today,” Seemar said after the win.
So how did it feel to have a winner on this World Cup evening?
“Well, this is what we live for here in our jobs. Nothing better than having a winner tonight.”
Secret Ambition wins Godolphin Mile
Secret Ambition’s dominant run earned trainer Satish Seemar his first Godolphin Mile victory on Saturday.
Ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, Secret Ambition won his second race in less than two months.
The eight year-old British horse was too good for his rivals at the Group 2 $750,000 Godolphin Mile, the second race of the Dubai World Cup, at Meydan on Saturday, finishing ahead of Golden Goal and Avant Garde.
Video: Deryan wins opening race Dubai Kahayla Classic
French raider Deryan produced a stunning finish to clinch the Group 1 $750,000 Dubai Kahayla Classic, the first race of the Dubai World Cup, at Meydan on Saturday.
Ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal, Deryan reached the finish line ahead of the UAE’s Af Alwajel, while Saudi runner Mubasher Al Khalediah finished third.
The Dubai Kahayla Classic is a Group A race on the dirt for purebred Arabian horses.
Dubai World Cup live: Full race schedule
The Dubai Kahayla Classic, the race for the purebred Arabian horses, will kick off the world’s most prestigious day of racing at the iconic Meydan racecourse on Saturday.
The day’s first race has drawn 13 runners and Mubasher Al Khalediah and Mutawakel Al Khalediah are the strong contenders.
The two Saudi runners are likely to face a strong challenge from the UAE’s AF Alwajel.
The first race starts at 3:45pm.
Late Sheikh Hamdan: A pioneer in the world of horse racing
And while the Dubai World Cup celebrates an important milestone in its rich history, this year’s running will be a tribute to the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, who passed away last week.
A great and wonderful man, Sheikh Hamdan was a pioneer in the world of horse racing and left a lasting legacy in equine sport. And he will be fondly remembered as we go through this night of racing.
Nine races, a generous prize purse of $26.5 million
Getting back to the action, we are little less than an hour away from the first race of the Dubai World Cup, this afternoon. And to jog your memory, the Dubai World Cup, traditionally held on the last Saturday of March, features nine races with a generous prize purse of $26.5 million.
There are six Group 1 affairs and three Group 3 contests, with Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic, a race for Purebred Arabians, shifting things into gear.
Guests up glam quotient with fascinating hats
The invited guests of the Dubai World Cup kept with one of the most facinating aspects of the races: Hats worn by the ladies.
The Dubai World Cup goes beyond just being a sporting event, it is a social one that is a big part of Dubai’s landscape. Apart from it being a celebration of all things horses, it also celebrates people who love horses.
Every year, racing fans from all around the globe arrive to witness the event and are dressed to their nines at the races. And those hats worn by the ladies are a definite highlight with all its different hues and colours
Photos: The 25th anniversary of the Dubai World Cup will be reserved for limited guest counts and seats marked off for social distancing.
117 horses from 11 countries: A stirring endorsement for Dubai's resilience amid Covid
Despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dubai World Cup has attracted 117 horses from 11 countries — a stirring endorsement of the UAE and Dubai’s capabilities in hosting world-class events in a safe and secure environment.
There are different bio-bubbles in place for horses, trainers and horse connections, as well as the local and international media, with all undergoing Covid tests prior to entering the venue.
The first Dubai World Cup: How it all started
Just to rewind, the Dubai World Cup was created by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 1996. The inaugural event was held at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse and was won by the William Mott-trained Cigar.
Nad Al Sheba hosted the world cup until 2009, before the now iconic Meydan Racecourse took shape and ran its first event in 2010.
A Covid-safe event
Just to give you all a heads up, last year was to be the 25th anniversary but was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, to safeguard the health of all participants.
This year, the event is taking place behind closed doors and as has been the case in the UAE, which had set the gold standard when it comes to health and security protocols, the organisers have gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of all the participants.
"There will be complete control to maintain the safety of those present,” said Mohammed Issa Al Adhab, Director-General of the Dubai Equestrian Club.
“And thank the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai, and the Security Committee of the Dubai Police and all partners for the support where working groups were formed whose main concern was to ensure the safety of all participants, including owners, knights, guests and take care of their safety while they are in the race," he added.