The Dubai World Cup: Horse Racing’s Grand Spectacle

1:30 pm  |  02.03.2024

The Dubai World Cup, held annually in March, is one of the most anticipated nights on the horse racing calendar. This prestigious event brings together some of the world’s top equine talent to compete in a series of lucrative races at the Meydan Racecourse. The highlight of the evening is the Dubai World Cup race itself, which offers an impressive $12 million purse. Given the caliber of the participating horses, it’s no surprise that this is the biggest event of the year for Middle East online horse betting. But what is it about the Dubai World Cup Night that makes it an unmissable event for sports fans?

The History of the Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup Night held annually at Meydan Racecourse in the UAE since 1996, is a highlight on the global horse racing calendar. The event features eight graded races, with total prize money exceeding $27 million. The centerpiece, the Dubai World Cup, is a Group 1 race run over 2,000 meters on dirt. It gained the title of the world’s richest horse race in 2019, surpassing America’s Pegasus World Cup in prize money.

Winners & Records

Some of the biggest legends in horse racing have dominated the Dubai World Cup throughout history, with Frankie Dettori and Jerry Bailey leading the way in terms of most victories as a jockey. Saeed bin Suroor is the most successful trainer in the Dubai World Cup, with nine victories. Thunder Snow is the only repeat winner of Group 1, having landed victories in 2018 and 2019. His first victory also set the speed record on the dirt, clocking a finishing time of 2:01.38. African Story holds the record for quickest time on the synthetic surface, winning the 2014 renewal in a time of 2:01.61.

It has been a global affair in recent editions, with Country Grammer landing a famous success for American trainer Bob Baffert in 2022. However, Japan succeeded for the second time in history in 2023, as Ushba Tesoro defied expectations to land a shock victory.

2024 Leading Contenders

The 2024 renewal of the race looks set to be one of the most exciting in recent memory, with the first two finishers from the Breeders’ Cup Classic both expected to line up at Meydan. Derma Sotogake could be a strong chance to reverse that form line with White Abarrio after previously winning at Meydan last year in the G2 UAE Derby.

He returned from a lengthy layoff at Santa Anita to finish strongly behind White Abarrio in the Classic. Ushba Tesoro is also expected to boldly bid to retain his price, while Saudi Crown also can’t be overlooked. Arabian Knight finished behind Derma Sotogake and White Abarrio in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but he retains plenty of ability for Bob Baffert after scoring by a neck in the G1 Pacific Classic Stakes last year. Further progression could be expected on his first start as a four-year-old.

World’s Best Involved In Sheema Classic

Last year’s Dubai Sheema Classic saw the world’s best racehorse in action as Equinox stormed to success to further his lofty reputation. This year, it could be all about Aidan O’Brien’s superstar Auguste Rodin. The Epsom Derby and Irish Champion Stakes winner ended his career in stunning fashion to land the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf, and he will be incredibly hard to beat if returning at that same level in Meydan in March.

Liberty Island will be the leading contender from Japan this year, as the Filly Triple Crown hero has won five from seven starts. She was also last seen finishing a good second behind Equinox in the G1 Japan Cup.

Stars On Earth is another progressive runner from Japan who looks a likely runner, but she has won just twice from nine efforts in stakes company, which could leave her with something to find in this high-quality field of champions.


Dubai World Cup Night will be a sensational evening of horse racing action, with several of the world’s best set to line up with the hope of winning huge prize money. It is also an important evening regarding the Road to the Kentucky Derby, as the G2 UAE Derby provides the winner a direct route to the opening leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. It will be an unmissable night of action for horse racing fans.

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