Racing

Dubai World Cup is off

The $17 million race is postponed to next year due to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic

The Dubai World Cup, one of the world's richest horse races and a premier annual sporting event in the United Arab Emirates, will not go ahead this year amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

The 25th edition of the multi-race meet, scheduled for Satuday, has been postponed to next year to safeguard the health of participants, Dubai's government media office tweeted on Sunday.

Doubts over whether the US$12 million (S$17.3 million) race at the sprawling Meydan Racecourse would go ahead were raised last Thursday, when the country's federal sports authority suspended all sporting tournaments and competitions.

However, a race went ahead at Dubai's Jebel Ali racecourse on Friday, local media reported.

Dubai's government media offices did not reply to a request for comment as to why the race took place.

The Dubai World Cup was to go ahead without paid spectators and associated events, including race-day entertainment, organisers said earlier this month.

The event was created by horse enthusiast Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

It is a Group 1 flat race over 2,000m on a dirt track and has been won by Maktoum's Godolphin Stable with Irish horse Thunder Snow in the last two seasons. The horse was ridden by the great Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon.

The Dubai World Cup meeting, with its other rich undercards, was scheduled to be simulcast to Singapore.

The Gulf Arab state has temporarily banned all foreigners, except diplomats, from entering the country as it tries to contain the spread of the virus that has been linked to two deaths in the country. There have been 153 confirmed infections. - AFP, REUTERS

HORSE RACING