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Meydan Group pillar partners give millions a fine spectacle

Dubai: The racecard for the $27.25 million (Dh100.07 million) Dubai World Cup boasts some of the best racehorses in the world contesting nine of the most high-profile races on the global racing calendar.

Yet more than that, it also reveals some of the world’s most high-profile brands, strategically positioned alongside Meydan Group to bring the world’s richest race day to a worldwide audience of millions.

The Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates, is the finale of the day’s sporting action. Worth $10 million in prize money, with $6 million going to the connections of the winning horse, the Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race in the world. Now in its 19th year, the annual showpiece is run over 2000m on the all-weather track and was first held at Nad al Sheba Racecourse. Back then the connections of American super horse Cigar placed his unbeaten reputation on the line to travel across the world and contest the inaugural running of this race. Cigar was successful in his challenge and his name is the first on an exclusive honour-roll of 18 very special racehorses to have gone down in history as Dubai World Cup winners.

Supported by eight other high-class races, a victory on Dubai World Cup day represents a career-defining high for trainers, owners and jockeys. Each contest has been designed to encompass the best that world racing has to offer for the staying, sprint, Classic and middle distance divisions.

From the beauty and historical significance of the original racehorse, the Purebred Arabian, in the Dubai Kahayla Classic sponsored by Emaar, the Dubai World Cup-day card also takes in the adrenaline-fuelled all-out gallop of the speedballs in the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News and the Al Quoz Sprint empowered by Ipic.

The two turf races offer the chance for spectators to watch the world’s best jockeys bring carefully-planned tactics into play for the middle-distance Dubai Duty Free sponsored by Dubai Duty Free and the Dubai Sheema Classic presented by Longines. The Godolphin Mile sponsored by Meydan Sobha provides top milers with a world stage and the Dubai World Cup-day Classic, the UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group hands the platform over to the season’s best three-year-olds. Then there is the stamina-sapping Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors which sees the horse racing world’s hardy stayers test their mettle over flat racing’s ‘marathon’ distance.

The development of the Dubai World Cup-day card and the growth of the event’s international profile, as well as that of Dubai as a global destination would not have been possible without the support of a select group of sponsors whose vision has helped support and nurture horse racing in the emirate.

Malih Al Basti, Vice-Chairman of Meydan Group and Chairman of Meydan Racing Committe, said: “Dubai World Cup day is the annual highlight of our season. It is a time when we look forward to standing alongside our pillar partners to promote high-class international racing and highlight Dubai as an exciting global hub for business, pleasure and events of international significance.

“Thanks to the investment and vision of our partners, we are able to host tens of thousands of spectators on the big day and beam the action in Dubai to millions around the world who watch this showcase on television. We are fortunate to have long relationships with our key foundation partners, yet also attract new sponsors to the Sport of Kings. We value each of these associations and look forward celebrating with all our pillar partners as we crown nine new champions on Saturday March 29 at Meydan Racecourse.”

Meydan Group is also teaming up with the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre to bring some of the traditions of the UAE to the race-day guests.

Ebrahim Abdul Rahim, Director of Events at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre said: “Dubai has become a platform that brings together horses and riders to seek greatness and success at this international annual meeting. Horse racing plays an important part in reflecting the UAE’s authenticity and tradition and the importance of equestrian sport in our everyday life.”

“In collaboration with Meydan, we at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre are proud to showcase our traditions at the Dubai World Cup 2014 by offering heritage plates that reflect the culture and identity of the UAE and live performances including marine arts, folk arts, Emirati ‘Ayalah’ and folk dances ‘Alnaashat’.”

Emirates are the sponsors of Race 9, the Dubai World Cup (Group 1). Shaikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Senior Vice-President, Commercial Operations – Gulf, Middle East and Iran, said: “Emirates, global connector of people and places, has been the race sponsor since the start of the event back in 1996. Just like Emirates, the Dubai World Cup reaches out to six continents, be it in terms of destinations we fly to or countries that will have horses competing. Emirates is committed to supporting the development of Dubai, so it is very important for us to partner with what has become the richest horse race in the world. Both Emirates and the Dubai World Cup strive to promote Dubai as a leading sporting, business and tourism destination. Attracting tens of thousands of visitors, this is an event to not be missed.”

Longines are the sponsors of Race 8, the Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1). Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice-President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said: “Longines is very proud to be the official timekeeper of the Dubai World Cup for the fourth time. This event perfectly embodies the key values that Longines’ slogan distils: ‘Elegance is an Attitude’. We are delighted to present in Dubai the official watch of the event, Conquest Classic, a watch collection dedicated to our passion for equestrian sports.”

Dubai Duty Free sponsor Race 7, the Dubai Duty Free (Group 1). Commenting on Dubai Duty Free’s sponsorship of the Dubai World Cup 2014, Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice-Chairman, Colm McLoughlin, said: “The sponsorship of major sporting events, including world class horse racing, has been part of Dubai Duty Free’s marketing mix almost since its inception 30 years ago and is very much in line with our strategy to promote Dubai and our brand. As a pillar partner to the 19th running of the Dubai World Cup, we are proud to be sponsoring one of the major races on that night, the $5 million Group 1 Dubai Duty Free race, which was won by the Godolphin-trained Sajjhaa in 2013. Returning to Meydan Racecourse for what promises to be another successful event represents a major commitment, and we know that our association with this high-profile event continues to help promote Dubai as a centre of excellence for sport, tourism and commerce.”

Gulf News sponsors Race 6, the Dubai Golden Shaheen (Group 1). Gulf News has been associated with the Dubai World Cup since its inception in 1996 and is once again race sponsor, official newspaper and publisher of the official magazine, in addition to being a pillar partner of Meydan,” said Duleep George, Executive Director – Strategy & Marketing, Al Nisr Publishing LLC. “We are looking forward to a thrilling nineteenth edition of this prestigious event and, in particular to our race, the $2 million 1200 metres sprint Dubai Golden Shaheen, which we are sure will be one of the highlights on Dubai World Cup day,” he added.

Ipic sponsor Race 5, the Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1). “As the sponsor of the Al Quoz Sprint empowered by Ipic, we are particularly proud to be associated with the UAE’s strong heritage and tradition of horse racing,” said Khadem Al Qubaisi, Managing Director of Ipic. “With our extensive portfolio of companies spanning the globe, Ipic welcomes the opportunity to showcase the UAE to an international audience.”

The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group sponsor Race 4, the UAE Derby (Group 2). “Dubai World Cup 2014 time has come. We have been looking forward to this all season and are ready to use this fantastic opportunity to profile our group and host some top contacts and clients in our VIP suite and in other great areas at Meydan,” said Abdullah Mohammad Juma Al Naboodah, Chairman of the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group.

“The event helps put Dubai on the world stage and we are always proud to be involved in initiatives run by Meydan and Dubai Racing Club. It should be a great day for everyone involved,” Al Naboodah said.

Al Tayer Motors sponsor Race 3, the Dubai Gold Cup (Group 3). Al Tayer Motors, one of the UAE’s premier automotive dealerships, has been associated with equestrian sports in the UAE for many years. It sponsors two race evenings, which are part of Racing at Meydan and the Dubai World Cup Carnival as well as the Gamilati Endurance Cup for Mares. The dealership is sponsoring the Dubai Gold Cup on the main race day for the third consecutive year.

Speaking about the sponsorship, Chief Executive Officer Ashok Khanna said: “The Dubai World Cup is internationally renowned as one of the premium equestrian events and attracts talent from across the world every year. It provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to reach out to customers and positions us with one of the best experiences that Dubai has to offer.”

Meydan Sobha sponsor Race 2, the Godolphin Mile (Group 2). P.N.C. Menon, representing the company, said: “We are truly honoured to be part of such a magnificent occasion. The sponsorship will open up a number of doors and will highlight how the Meydan Sobha vision is becoming a reality. Our association with the Dubai World Cup is a great way for prospective buyers to learn more about our recently-launched bespoke sales centre and model homes, which will offer customers a glimpse into their future life surrounded by nature in the heart of Dubai and showcase Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City — District One’s three distinct villa styles — Modern Arabic, Mediterranean and Contemporary. Each home comes with its own architectural style and clients will be treated with our utmost attention to suit their preferences.”

Emaar sponsors Race 1, the Dubai Kahayla Classic (Group 1). Ahmad Al Matroushi, Managing Director, Emaar Properties PJSC, said: “The Dubai World Cup is today undoubtedly one of the world’s most awaited equestrian events that also energises the city’s tourism, hospitality and retail sectors. Emaar’s support to this sports and lifestyle event underlines our commitment to partner in initiatives that further enhance the city’s reputation and reiterate its credentials as a tourism hub. It also builds on our track-record of supporting equestrian activities, drawing inspiration from the region’s rich equestrian heritage.”