The Dubai World Cup Experience

28 03 2010

Meydan comes into its own

With what can only be described as a triumphant élan, Dubai opened its gates to the world last night as the 2010 Dubai World Cup got under way. For the uninitiated, the Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race on the planet with the signature race having a winners purse of a scarcely believable US$10,000,000.

With this being the first World Cup to be held at the new Meydan track, the Compulsive Hooker was unsure as to how the experience would turn out. Event organisers in Dubai, whilst having an eye for the spectacular, rarely appreciate the more prosaic needs of the public and so we approached yesterday with some trepidation. Secondly, long term readers of this site will know our views on our first experience of the venue – suffice it to say we were underwhelmed by the overall experience.

Last night we were forced to eat our words.

What unfolded before a crowd of over 60,000 people was quite simply an amazing spectacle. Our first experience had been dominated by the feeling that the whole place was simply too big to gain an atmosphere out of a standard race day crowd. Last night this behemoth of a stadium came into its own and literally lit up the night sky.

Andrew Lloyd Webbers horse Dar Re Mi wins the Dubai Sheema Classic

The entertainment was not solely restricted to the extraordinary horses either, with dancers, acrobats, balloons and the obligatory enormous fireworks display providing more than enough for the senses to keep up with. Then almost as an afterthought, as people streamed out of the stadium following the last race, Elton John and Santana took the stage until 1am in the morning providing further world class entertainment. Sadly though due the scale of the place, as with Sting a month ago, the sound quality for these two world class acts was not as good as it could have been unless you were one of the relative few directly in front of the stage.

Gloria De Campeao edges Lizards Desire in the Dubai World Cup

That was where the problems ended however, as there was more than enough high quality horse racing to enjoy. The Compulsive Hooker are not racing experts so we will not comment on this part of the evening too much, although even for relative racing novices as us, all the races were enthralling. Perhaps it was the enormous amounts of money at stake or the positive and bubbling atmosphere, but Gloria De Campeao’s win by the tightest of margins in the World Cup itself, was as good as a piece of sporting drama we have seen.




2 responses

28 03 2010

How, when Dubai is in a financial crisis id it afford to put this on? including the 10mil prize money when they’re begging they’re neighbours for scraps? is it now called the Kalifa stadium?

29 03 2010

I guess its what is dear to their hearts! This is Sh. Mo’s favourite hobby after all….. The prize money is put up by the sponsors rather than directly their own pockets. Agreed its probably a little extravagant – but i enjoyed it nevertheless!!!

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