Dubai World Cup: a stage for the world’s best

Every year, personalities drawn from the world of horse racing and beyond come to Meydan to experience Dubai World Cup. Following a vintage edition in 2017, Sam Price discovered some different perspectives on what makes the event so special

“There are some historic races around the world – from the Arc de Triomphe, to the Melbourne Cup and the Breeders’ Cup – but Dubai World Cup night brings the most countries together, in different categories and on different surfaces. It’s a way of getting a barometer of how the best horses around the world compete against each other.”Frank Gabriel, executive director of Dubai Racing Club 

“Dubai World Cup is a proud moment for local trainers, because we get to compete with the world-class horses and horsemen. And it’s all about merit – so if you make it there, you’re part of the world’s best. I’ve been part and parcel of the whole thing because I was here from the beginning, and I saw the baby-steps to where we are today. I’m very proud of that, so I’m always open-chested when I arrive at Meydan.”Satish Seemar, Emirati trainer

“I came out with three runners, and this [victory] has made it one incredible trip. We stayed in the Meydan Hotel, and to wake up in the morning, look out and see this track is unbelievable. You come to try to win and hope you get lucky, and we did, so we’ll be able to celebrate and hopefully come back next year.Sol Kumin, part-owner of the USA’s Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Mind Your Biscuits 

“I had supper with Sheikh Mohammed [the night before Dubai World Cup], and he was very clear that he wants everyone to win from all around the world. Someone asked him, ‘Will [Godolphin] have a winner?’ and he replied, ‘It doesn’t matter. I want other people to win’. He loves it when Japan, France, the United States or England get a winner. It’s an international event – it’s not a home turf game.John Gosden, trainer of Godolphin’s Dubai Sheema Classic winner Jack Hobbs 

“I’m a freelance racing reporter, and to get out here and be part of the whole experience has been very special. It’s a wonderful thing to see Japanese horses competing so strongly on the turf, especially over middle distances. Japan hasn’t got the history of racing compared to other places – especially Europe, where you might have had racing for 400 years – but through training and breeding we’ve been able to reach this international level. We’re very happy.”Satoshi Hiramatsu, Japanese journalist

“I started judging [at Dubai World Cup] 10 years ago and the standard gets better and better every year. What’s really interesting is the combination of all nationalities bringing their own styles. It’s not all about what’s fashionable; it’s also about how you interpret it. I love it, it’s a huge highlight and I’m always delighted to be part of it.” - Kelly Lundberg, celebrity stylist and ‘Meydan Style Stakes’ judge

“I’m delighted. Just being part of [Dubai World Cup] is pretty special, but when you have a winner it becomes even more so. This is the most prestigious racing in the world. So many people watch it, and it’s located in a perfect place where horses from all over the world can come over and be competitive. I have to say congratulations to all of the organisers – they’ve done a great job. The races that they put on were really special, so I’d like to say thanks and well done to them all.”Joao Moreira, Brazilian jockey and winner of the Dubai Turf aboard Vivlos

“[Dubai World Cup] is top of the tree. So many new horses arrive [in Dubai] for the big night, which is a real attraction – and something that every racing fan looks forward to. Meydan has a spectacular standing on the world stage, and on the big nights it produces a great backdrop.”Terry Spargo, Australian racehorse commentator