Sheikh Mohammed’s passion for horses led Dubai to the top of racing
As the UAE celebrates its Golden Jubilee, horse racing has achieved worldwide fame thanks to the country’s expertise in racing operations as owners and breeders.
Meydan Racecourse – Dubai’s flagship site – is known worldwide as a venue for the world’s richest race meeting – the Dubai World Cup – a nine-race map that attracts equine luminaries from all over the world . The prize fund for the 2022 Dubai World Cup meeting hosted by the Dubai Racing Club is $ 30.5 million.
Godolphin, the Dubai-based racing company of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, is the world’s leading thoroughbred owner-breeder.
Founded in 1992, Godolphin now spans four continents with operations in Dubai, Europe, Australia, Japan and the United States.
They celebrate the winners almost every day. As of this writing, they have won 7,164 winners, including 360 group or freshman awards.
The name Godolphin is derived from Godolphin Barb and their breeding operation is called the Darley Stud, two of the founding Arab bulls of the modern thoroughbred Godolphin Barb (born 1724) and Darley Arabian (1703). Bayerly Turk (1684) is the other.
While studying at Cambridge, Sheikh Mohammed attended his first race meeting in Newmarket to see Royal Palace win the 2000 Guineas in May 1967.
Fast forward 10 years and his own involvement in international racing began with the filly Hatta, which gave him his first success at Brighton on 20 June 1977 and then won the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood the following month.
Sheikh Mohammed’s passion for horses grew into a major blood breeding operation and spawned the world’s largest and greatest racing team, Godolphin, as well as the stallion farm in success, Darley.
Today, Godolphin horses winter in Dubai and are prepared for the Dubai World Cup carnival as well as the Dubai World Cup itself.
While Sheikh Mohammed’s racing operation is world famous, the ruler of Dubai himself has ridden and promoted the Arabian horse for endurance riding – long distance races ranging from 100 to 180 km.
He won several events, including gold at the World Endurance Championship.
Thoroughbreds occupy a prominent place in the culture and heritage of the country and Arab races are promoted around the world, an initiative of the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed.
The president of the UAE Cup is currently in his 28th edition. This is a series of races held across Europe, the United States and the Middle East to encourage reproduction of the species.
âMost of the wealthy households in the UAE had horses and camels, and they would run them in makeshift or open desert areas during festivities and special functions like weddings,â Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah, owner / herder thoroughbred Arabs and quadruple Emirati. champion owner, said.
âWe had Arabian horses at home and that’s how I liked them and later I started a breeding operation for races,â added Al Naboodah, who currently has over 100 Arabian horses. Training.
Emirati coaches Ali Rashid Al Raihe and Musabah Al Muhairi ran Arabs in the middle of the desert as children.
âLong before horse racing came under the racing rules, we were racing in the desert,â recalls 73-year-old Al Raihe.
âSuch racing and riding is still widely practiced. It is a tradition in the country to organize races in open areas and to travel long distances in the desert as a hobby.
âWhen we were kids we would go out pulling a harrow attached to our vehicles to prepare a track for the horses to practice and prepare them for these traditional races.
âIt was for fun at the time. We rode bareback and we did not go to riding schools. Horse racing is now well established for both thoroughbreds and Arabians.
âThe UAE arguably holds the most races for Arabs. Today the breed is better recognized in the flat racing world and as endurance horses.
On Sunday, Abu Dhabi will host its biggest meeting of the season, a seven-race card highlighted by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown for Purebred Arabians of 5 million dirhams.
The Emirates Racing Authority was founded in 1992 and has run races under the racing rules.
Before that, Dubai hosted its first racing meeting in 1981 on a camel track, hosted by Sheikh Mohammed. Three races took place – a sprint, a mile run and a mile and a half contest.
The Dubai Racing Club was established in 1992 to develop the sport in the city. Later that year, Nad Al Sheba Racecourse was opened, attracting some of the world’s best jockeys, including Lester Piggott and Willie Carson.
The biggest breakthrough for racing in Dubai came in 1996 when the Dubai World Cup was launched.
Meydan Racecourse was opened in March 2010 and replaced Nad Al Sheba as the venue for the Dubai World Cup.
The site can accommodate up to 60,000 spectators and is home to a horse racing museum and grandstand that stretches over a mile. The 2022 Dubai World Cup is scheduled for March 26.
Updated: December 2, 2021, 6:47 a.m.