|Thursday 14th January 2021
An Inside Look into Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse
In the world of horse racing, the United Kingdom has a long and storied history of success. Renowned for breeding some of the finest equine athletes ever to have pounded the turf, it’s little wonder that it has some fabulous racetracks where spectators can enjoy the on-track action.
From Ascot to Cheltenham, Aintree to Newmarket, UK racecourses are lauded across the globe, but ours is not the only country with some fantastic destinations for racing enthusiasts. The Middle East has its own share of top-tier venues, and the jewel in its crown is the unparalleled Meydan Racecourse.
Opened on the 27th March 2010, Meydan doesn’t have the long history or gravitas of Goodwood or Epsom, but what it does have is a mile-long grandstand, five-star hotel, and a starring role in Star Trek Beyond.
We take a look at one of the most acclaimed racecourses in Dubai and what it is that makes it so special.
The gold standard for luxury
Horse racing has always been a pastime enjoyed by the wealthy. While everyone is welcome to spectate, those who bankroll the sport have vast reserves of cash to pay for the trainers, breeders, jockeys, and equine athletes who create the mesmerising on-track action.
For this reason, racing venues often tend to be rich in luxury, and Meydan is no exception. Setting the bar for absolute decadence, this incredible venue acts as the gold standard in opulence, providing the most magnificent day out for racegoers.
This includes first-class hospitality offerings, a state-of-the-art setting, and a racetrack that’s designed on a grand scale, ensuring the most perfect view of what’s happening on the turf.
A calendar of premium races
For many, the most exciting aspect of horse racing is the opportunity to bet on what’s happening on the track. This allows spectators to involve themselves in the action and create a vested interest in the end result.
The best venues need to host a calibre of racing comparable to that seen at Aintree and Cheltenham. In this regard, Meydan Racecourse delivers, with a calendar filled with some truly fantastic races. These include the Dubai World Cup, Golden Shaheen, Sheema Classic, and Godolphin Mile among others.
The popularity of the sport in this region is reflected in the emergence of side industries that have grown alongside it, such as online betting. The sheer number of online bookies available means that sites such as Arabian Betting have become popular in navigating through all these options. Since they provide suggestions of bookies with horse betting and review them based on a number of factors such as welcome bonuses, customer service and the markets available, they are a quicker way for customers to take their pick.
By offering a variety of markets including antepost and in-play markets the bookmakers cater to different needs, while also providing live streaming services so punters can watch the action unfold.
While Meydan Racecourse is luxurious, describing it thus falls short in terms of conveying the incredible scope and quality of its facilities, not just with regard to accommodating spectators, but in creating an environment in which racing is showcased in its purest and most exhilarating form.
This is something Meydan delivers, with two separate race tracks: a 2,400 metre turf track and an 8.75-furlong dirt course. Operating from November through to March, contests include the world’s richest race day, the Dubai World Cup, which awards $26.5 million in prize money and has roughly 80,000 spectators.
Only a site like Meydan can house so many of the sport’s enthusiasts, and in order to do so, it is built on a grand scale. Spanning a breathtaking 1.5 kilometres, its grandstand alone is over a mile long.
Not only this, but Meydan contains within it everything one could want from one of the world’s premier racecourses: a five-star hotel, restaurants, a racing museum, and 72 corporate suites. It’s not only its guests that are catered for. So too are its athletes, human and equine, with receiving barns, stables, all-weather training tracks, jockeys’ lounges, and more included under its towering crescent-shaped roof.
Home to the stars
While Meydan Racecourse is most impressive in its capacity as a racetrack, it has also attracted many human celebrities since its opening a decade ago. Stars who’ve performed at the venue include a slew of famous names, from Lady Gaga and Elton John to Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, and Sia.
Interestingly, Meydan also played a starring role of its own – in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond. Doubling as a docking bay onscreen, it can be seen housing the U.S.S Enterprise during a bar scene at the film’s close.
For racing enthusiasts, whether UK-based or Dubai natives, Meydan Racecourse is a once-in-a-lifetime track that must be seen to be believed. If you’re ever fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit, seize it with both hands. There’s not a single part of you that will regret it.