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article imageA new home for Dubai World Cup: The World's Richest Horse Race

By Heba Hashem     Oct 24, 2009 in Sports
The days of Nad Al Sheba are not over. Dubai's equestrian scene has recently seen a major upgrade. The changes have been gradually taking place since the 'shut-down' of Nad Al Sheba' race course earlier this year, just after the 2009 Dubai World Cup
It was a decision that disappointed many, for it is Nad Al Sheba that served as the central point for all horse races and activities in Dubai since November 1992. However, this part of the desert will now be taken over by the enormous Meydan city, offering much more for professionals, amateurs and viewers.
Who's in charge now?
Last month, September 2009, "Meydan", which is derived from the Arabic word meaning "where people congregate and race", announced that it will hand over its contract in a joint-venture to Arabtech Construction and WCT Engineering. These two giant industry leaders are now in charge of building the UAE's newest iconic equestrian development. Having worked on projects like Burj Dubai and other landmark towers, Arabtech knows the rules of the game, and with the support of WCT Engineering, a globally renowned Malaysian company that has worked on Formula 1 race tracks in Malaysia, Bahrain and now in Abu Dhabi, the future of Meydan city looks very bright. As for the designing of the racecourse, leading Malaysian firm Teo A. Khing (TAK) design consultants have been appointed to apply their profound expertise.
Ready or not?
It has been six months since Meydan city was officially revealed to the world, yet the development's construction started back in 2007. Racing facilities will be ready by end of October this year, and the racecourse is due to officially open at the 2010 Dubai World Cup meeting.
However, the complete construction of Meydan Racecourse may take up to two years, and upon its completion, will mark a defining moment in the sport's global history. Comfort, luxury and racing technology are all factors being taken into consideration, with the hope of creating the ultimate horseracing experience.
Commenting on this, Meydan's chairman, Mr. Saeed Humaid Al Tayer said, "It is with great pleasure and excitement that we announce the first meeting tobe held at Meydan will be on January 28, 2010. The racing facilities will be ready by October 31st this year". He added, "By having it read on October 31st, all horsemen, whether they are Dubai-based or visitors from abroad will have time to familiarize themselves with the facility to ensure they are prepared to complete to the highest standard when racing beings in January".
"Meydan was introduced to the world on the eve of the Dubai World Cup in 2007 and to have it ready for racing in January 2010 is a remarkable achievement. Horse racing around the world is showcased at great race courses with wonderful histories and traditions, but with Meydan we believe we are taking the sport to a new level and into a new era", commented Mr. Al Tayer.
Moreover, the soon-to-be open racecourse will have a significant crowd capacity of 60,000 and a covered parking for 10,000. The developers are not stopping here though, as they plan for a 5-star hotel, more than 10 haute cuisine restaurants, a Meydan museum and gallery, and an IMAX cinema all right next to the racecourse.
Dubai World Cup's new home
Now that Meydan has become the equestrian hub of the country, it is will naturally host the world's richest race- Dubai World Cup- on its grounds. The development seeks to attract the best thoroughbreds, owners and racing nobility from across the globe. Apart from the outstanding 60,000 people capacity of the Grandstand, Meydan will also encompass a 1.750m all weather surface inside a 2,400m turf course. The enormous Meydan City has recently brought three equestrian groups together under its umbrella: Dubai Racing Club, Emirates Racing Authority and Dubai World Cup.
The World's Richest Race even richer now!
Marking its sixth anniversary, Dubai International Racing Carnival has gained enough popularity to expect more contestants and more viewers this year. The multi-million dollar race has recently announced an increase to the already huge prize sum, moving it from US $6 million to US $10 million, an amount which awaits the final winners of the race. According to the Chairman of Meydan Group LLC, Mr. Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, the decision to increase the prize-money was made to complement the benchmark setting of the latest world-class facilities, and to continue enticing the best horses in the world for the 2010 Dubai World Cup.
Outstanding Architecture at Meydan City
A city within a city, this development will feature some uniquely designed buildings. In addition to Meydan race course, the developer's vision is to create iconic residential and commercial towers that will make Meydan city desirable in every sense. For example, 'Metropolis'; a district which aims to create a work-life balance by offering easy access between both, will house an expansive commercial, retail and restaurant mix along with its own town club and hotel. The developers claim the district has already caught the attention of financial, telecoms, petroleum, and technology corporations.
Similarly, Horizons is another premium district that will be characterized not only by its stylish offices and residences, but also with its stunning Meydan Gateway Tower and Horseshoe Plaza. Most of all, the area will proudly boast an 80 berth Marina, and will be positioned around a winding canal network. Lastly, a series of residences will make up Godolphin Parks, a waterfront development right by the canal. This district will feature the Godolphin Gateway Tower, a 40 storey iconic building designed in the image of a thoroughbred's head, a Signature Mall that will house a high class shopping environment, and all this will spread across the one kilometer of Godolphin riverfront.
Mark your dates
Meydan Group have announced January 28, 2010 as the date that global racing enters a new exciting era for the first meeting to be staged on its grounds. The first meeting will also coincide with the start of the 2010 Dubai International Racing Carnival and will feature the opening round of the Group 3 Al Maktroum Challenge for thoroughbreds and Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge for Purebred Arabians. Maktoum Challenge is the traditional starting point for the Dubai International Racing Carnival, which starts off the race and closes off with the Super Thursday meeting, scheduled on March 4, 2010. The first staging of the Dubai World Cup will be on Saturday, March 27, 2010.
Meydan will host Dubai World Cup in March 2010, and has also confirmed its sponsorship of the Endurance Competition for the 2010 Alltech FEW World Equestrian Games. An essential component of the Games, the FEI World Endurance Championship takes place once every two years and will be held in conjunction with the quadrennial Games at Kentucky, U.S.A.
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