Meydan Races

Meydan Racecourse in Dubai is a track like no other. Opened in 2010, it can accommodate as many as 60,000 spectators and boasts the longest grandstand in the world - incredibly over a mile in length. It replaced the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse which was on the same site and was demolished to make way for Meydan. Outside of the two race tracks, it boasts a hotel, several restaurants, a horse racing museum and gallery and a nine-hole golf course!

On the track, Meydan hosts the $12 million Dubai World Cup, a race that is the richest in the world. The 10-furlong dirt Group 1 race has been won on no less than nine times by Saeed bin Suroor, with the last two wins coming with the enigmatic Thunder Snow - the first horse to win the Dubai World Cup on more than one occasion. Godolphin are the winning most owners of the race with eight successes, while Jerry Bailey rode the winner four times between 1996 and 2002. In 2020, Dubai World Cup will take place on Saturday, March 28.

The venue has also hosted several high-profile concerts, with the likes of Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Janet Jackson all entertaining the locals in recent years.

The Meydan course

Meydan provides a stunning backdrop for the world’s richest horse race and a string of other big race nights.

The racecourse has two tracks: a turf course and a dirt course. The dirt course was replaced with a Tapeta surface in 2010, but was changed back to dirt in 2015.

The turf track is 12 furlongs in total, with just over two furlongs from the final turn to the finish line. It is oval-shaped and is similar to the more traditional tracks you would see in the USA. The turf track also has a longer straight course, in order to run Grade 1 races such as the Al Quoz Sprint over six furlongs as well as the Dubai Gold Cup over the two-mile trip, won in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Vazirabad.

The dirt track is on the inside of the turf and is just under nine furlongs in all, and with a two-furlong final straight. Both tracks tend to suit front-runners, with the ability to kick away coming into the final straight.

For that reason, the draw plays a key role at Meydan. Horses tend to be at a disadvantage when drawn wide, although that didn’t stop Thunder Snow in 2018 and 2019 who won the Dubai World Cup from stalls 10 and 12.

Meydan races dress code

The dress code greatly differs depending on the meeting and area in the course. For the free-admission areas, casual attire is allowed throughout. However, smart attire is required for those entering the Meydan Grandstand hospitality area. Women are encouraged to wear hats and racewear, though it is optional.

In the Meydan grandstand, t-shirts, flip flops and shorts are strictly prohibited as well as any sportswear while jeans, t-shirts, trainers and shorts are also not allowed in the Parade Ring.

Meydan also offers a fashion extravaganza on Dubai World Cup night, with a competition called the Style Stakes offering the chance to win various prizes.

Dubai World Cup at Meydan

The Dubai World Cup meeting is the richest day of racing in the world, with the blue-riband Dubai World Cup itself - a ten-furlong Grade 1 race on the dirt - carrying prize money of $12million. The 2020 Dubai World Cup will take place on Saturday, March 28.

The race night is the conclusion of the Dubai Racing Carnival, which is a series of meetings between January and March that often serves as preparation for the string of Group 1 races on Dubai World Cup night.

The final prep night is also known as Super Saturday, usually held three weeks before the World Cup itself.

For the last two seasons, Thunder Snow has been a very popular local winner of the Dubai World Cup for Saeed bin Suroor and the Godolphin team, despite being posted wide in both races, a position that often leaves horses at a big disadvantage.

Elsewhere on the 2019 Dubai World Cup card, fellow Godolphin horse Old Persian claimed the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, a race ran on the turf over 12 furlongs.

The UAE Derby - a race that also carries a ‘Win and you’re in’ spot for the Kentucky Derby - was won in 2019 by Plus Que Parfait. The race conditions mean that the 9.5 furlong test is limited to three-year-old colts. Mendelssohn was a spectacular 18-length winner of the race in 2018, but could not repeat that success at Churchill Downs, losing all chance at the start.

The Dubai Turf was won by the Japanese superstar Almond Eye, while Godolphin’s Blue Point - winner of the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2018 - took the Al Quoz Sprint for Charlie Appleby.

At The Winners Enclosure, we will be studying each and every runner on Dubai World Cup night, including the World Cup itself. Be sure to check out our race-by-race preview in the days before the race.

We will have news and updates throughout the week as well as vital big-race picks in every Group 1 race from our team of tipsters here at The Winners Enclosure.

Location of Meydan Racecourse

Meydan Racecourse is based in Dubai, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

You can get daily flights into Abu Dhabi and Dubai from various UK locations including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester. Emirates and British Airways are just some of the airlines that you can travel with.

If you are coming from Dubai city centre or Abu Dhabi, take the Sheikh Zayed Road and take the second interchange and turn left onto Al Meydan Road and follow the signs to Meydan Racecourse and The Meydan Hotel.

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