The sixth annual Dubai International Racing Carnival will kick-off on Thursday at Nad Al Sheba racetrack, and the 2009 Carnival will mark the final time the event is staged at that track. Construction on Meydan Racecourse, a multi-billion dollar project being built close to Nad Al Sheba, is expected to be completed by the 2010 Carnival.
One of the largest collection of international horses has been assembled to bid a final farewell to Dubai's first racecourse. Beginning with the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge (UAE-G3) on Thursday and culminating with the 14th running of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) on March 28, more than 200 international horses from 16 countries will compete for over $31,000,000 in prize-money.
"The Dubai International Racing Carnival has captured the attention of the world's horsemen since its beginning in 2004 and this year is no exception with record numbers," Dubai Racing Club CEO Frank Gabriel Jr. said. "The Maktoum Family has been firm in their commitment to international racing around the world and the success of the Dubai International Racing Carnival has proven that trainers around the globe share that drive and commitment."
An increased number of horses from Japan and France, the return of Australia as well as the usual strong contingent from South Africa and Great Britain are again at the forefront this year while last week's conclusion of the Winter Racing Challenge at Nad Al Sheba proved that Saudi Arabia will be strongly represented.
"Last year we had four horses emerge from the Carnival to win at the Dubai World Cup meeting which, in essence, is what it is all about, and while that will be hard to surpass, the horses coming for this year suggest that it may just eventuate," said Martin Talty, manager of the International Department. "The Dubai Racing Club's worldwide agents have done a great job in securing the numbers we have and the work of our official transporter Janah in getting the horses here are vital to the success of the Carnival."
The Dubai International Racing Carnival will run through March 5, with Dubai World Cup Day set for March 28.