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Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup has been staged annually since 1996 and contested at the Meydan Racecourse in the Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The race was created in by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai and owner of Darley Stud & Godolphin Racing.

Today it’s a popular race and of course a big betting event, let’s find out a bit more about the Dubai World Cup races…

Horse racing started in the Arab Emirates in 1981 but, as Sheikh Mohammad’s racing empire increased, so too did his wish to stage a world class race in his own country. The Dubai World Cup is held on the last Saturday in March and is part of the Dubai World Cup Night of races. The main supporting races are the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free and the US$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic.

Over 50,000 racegoers attend the Dubai World Cup meeting each year and the Cup carries a purse of $10million, making it the richest horse race in the world. The race is for four-year-olds and upwards over a mile and a quarter and is intended to attract some of the leading middle distance horses from around the globe. The race was given a flying start when the United States Hall of Fame thoroughbred Cigar, owned by Allen E. Paulson claimed the inaugural event. The 18th running of the event is scheduled for March 30th 2013.

Dubai World Cup Betting

Past winners

Although the race has a comparatively short history, the roll of honour is littered with top quality racehorses. Cigar’s famous victory in the first running in 1996 undoubtedly helped to give the race credibility and the standard was maintained by Singspiel the following year. Trained at Newmarket by Sir Michael Stoute, he provided Sheikh Mohammad with his first winner of the race. Silver Charm gave the USA their second winner in 1998. Almutawakel won in the colours of his brother, Hamdan Al Maktoum, in 1999 before Dubai Millennium fulfilled all expectations with a stunning victory in the Godolphin colours in 2000.

Dubai Millennium was bred by the Mr. Prospector stallion Seeking The Gold, out of the Prix de Pomone winner Colorado Dancer. He was originally named Yaazer and was sent into training with David Loder at Newmarket but he was later renamed. He was an easy five-length winner of his debut at Yarmouth in 1998 and was sent to Saeed Bin Suroor’s stable and wintered in Dubai ready for his three-year-old campaign.

He began his three-year-old campaign with a nine-length victory before contesting the Predominate Stakes at Goodwood, a recognised Derby trial. He won comfortably by three and a half lengths and was prepared for Epsom. Although sent off favourite at 5-1, the race did not go to plan as he raced too freely and weakened to finish only ninth. He was then dropped in distance and won twice in France before winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot by six lengths. Sheikh Mohammad stated that he was the best horse ever owned by Godolphin and he would be aimed at the Dubai World Cup the following spring.

He won his preparation race easily before he produced a devastating performance to win the Dubai World Cup by six lengths in a track record time. He produced a similarly awesome display at Royal Ascot. Sadly his career was cut short by a broken leg and, although he was saved for a stud career, he only survived one year before succumbing to grass sickness.

Jockey Jerry Bailey remains the most successful rider in the event with four winners. Having ridden the first two winners, he won on Captain Steve (2001) and Street Cry (2002), the latter providing leading trainer Saeed Bin Suroor with the third of his record five winners in the race. His later winners were Moon Ballad (2003) and Electrocutionist (2006).

The American’s have farmed the event in more recent years with successes for Pleasantly Perfect (2004), Roses In May (2005), Invasor (2007), Curlin (2008) and Well Armed (2009). In 2010 Glória de Campeão gave Brazil a memorable triumph in the race and Victoire Pisa (2011) added to the international flavour of the event when winning for Japan.

In 2012 the Dubai World Cup attracted a field of 13 including Transcend who had been runner-up the previous year. UAE Derby runner-up Master of Hounds took his chance, along with 2011 Breeders’ Cup winner Royal Delta. The favourite was multiple Group 1 winner So You Think with stiff opposition from the American trained Game on Dude. The latter was ridden by Chantal Sutherland but could only finish twelfth, the first female rider in the event’s history. In the end, the race was won by Monterosso, owned by the Godolphin Stables and trained by Mahmoud Al Zarooni. He was followed home by stable companion Capponi, another first achievement in the race.

Betting on the Dubai World Cup

Although there is no betting allowed in the UAE, the race carries enormous international interest and bets can be placed through bookmakers and sportsbooks internationally. There is a busy futures or ante-post market in the weeks leading up to the event. As it falls at the start of the season in Europe, it is often the first outing of the season for many of the leading contenders. This means that punters are gambling on form from the previous season.

With the most prestigious middle-distance races in Europe held from June through to October, trainers need to set aside their horses to target the race. It pays to keep a close watch on reports from the leading stables to confirm running plans before placing your wager.

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