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The Dubai World Cup - Your Ultimate Guide

The Dubai World Cup is a relatively new addition to the world of international thoroughbred racing. The event was inaugurated in 1996 and is held annually in March at Dubai's Meydan Racecourse. Interest in this battle of international thoroughbred talent soon spread across the globe. Currently, bettors all over the world hold their breaths when it is time for the Dubai World Cup.

The Details of
This Event

An alternative to British horse races like the Coronation Stakes and the Desert Orchid Chase is the exciting Dubai World Cup. This event takes place at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Run over a distance of about ten furlongs on a left-handed, dirt course, this race is open to thoroughbreds aged four and older. A weight requirement of 9 stones applies to males and 8st-9lbs apples to females.

fact file

location: Meydan Racecourse

grade: Group 1

race type: Flat

A World Renowned Championship Race

The Dubai World Cup is the brainchild of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the head of Godolphin Racing and Darley Stud. Considering the Sheikh's passion for the sport, it comes as no surprise that the Dubai World Cup isn't a stand-alone race but part of one of the world's most glamorous and extravagant race meetings, the Dubai World Cup Night of Races.

It is the grandest event on the Dubai calendar with a total of $30 million in prize money. $10 million of that is reserved for the Dubai World Cup which is the highlight event of the day. This race day also serves as the finale of the UAE season.

First run in 1996, the Dubai World Cup quickly became a Group One event in 1998. From 1996 to 2009, the event was held on a dirt track. This changed in 2010 to all weather and remained that way until 2015 when it was changed back to dirt.

The honour roll for the event is listed below starting with racing legend Cigar. The top prize and purse amounts are shown in Emirates Dirham (AED).


In its brief history, this event has yet to produce a thoroughbred that can claim to have won multiple times. However, the same cannot be said for jockeys, trainers and owners (as of 2017).

  • The jockey with the most wins is Jerry Bailey who won on four occasions between 1996 and 2002.

  • The trainer with the most wins is Saeed bin Suroor who trained seven winners between 1999 and 2015.

  • The most successful country is the USA with ten wins.

  • Four-year-olds are the most successful age group with a total of ten wins followed by five-year-olds with five wins.

  • Prince Charlie remains the most successful horse with a trio of consecutive wins from 1872 to 1874.

Best Moments

The Dubai World Cup's glamourous reputation and irresistible purse has attracted the most talented competitors making for some of the best horseracing money can buy (as of 2017).

jockey racing horse
  • In keeping with the glamourous theme of this event, the first ever Dubai World Cup champion was the legendary Cigar. This strong, world-famous competitor added prestige to the 1996 inaugural running making it an even more memorable occasion. Cigar duly became a proud member of the United States Hall of Fame for horse racing.

  • In 2012, Monterosso was responsible for the biggest upset in the history of the race when he finished ahead of 11/1 Capponi by a decisive three lengths despite starting the race with 20/1 odds. The race didn't go as expected with 5/4 favourite So You Think finishing fourth.