Overview Horse racing is one of the UAE’s most enduring traditions, and it kicks into full gear on Thursday night with the start of the annual racing season at Meydan in Dubai, which culminates in the spectacle of the Dubai World Cup on March 26, 2016.
It’s not just for hardcore enthusiasts though — each night features the thrill of six or seven races, plus lots of dining and socialising at several price points around the venue.
The UAE ruling family are passionate about the races; join them in the spirit with our guide to getting the best out of the season.
When Thursday, November 5. Gates open at 5.30pm, hospitality packages begin at 6.30pm and the first race starts at 7pm (want to sound like you know what you’re talking about? Say it “goes to post”). There are either six or seven races per night and there are 35 minutes between each race. So if there are seven races on the night, the last race starts at 10.30pm. Super Saturday, on March 5, 2016, has eight races and Dubai World Cup day has nine.
Where The Dubai racing season takes place every Thursday at the Meydan Racecourse — the spot where Star Trek Beyond was recently filmed. It’s about 13 minutes to get there from Downtown Dubai.
How much It’s free (at Gate B)! Or you can go all-out and hire an entire suite for a special occasion or corporate gathering (they cater for between 10-500 people, and begin from Dh495 per person for buffet and beverages).
How do I find out which horses are running in each race? That’s called the racecard, and they are available each Thursday morning, but entries can be checked at here on the Monday before racing while confirmed runners (declarations) can be seen online from Tuesday midday.
I’m hungry. What can I eat at the races? There are tons of dining and drinking options. If you want to be right at the finish line, head to The Premium for Dh50 (there’s a pay bar plus sandwiches and snacks).
Eat right next to the Parade Ring and watch the horses before they head into the race at the Parade Ring Restaurant for Dh100 admission. Dishes include fish and chips, pasta, and warm roast beef sandwiches.
Salute the race winner at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant, directly above the Parade Ring and Winner’s Circle, where you can have a four-course a la carte meal including beverages for Dh475. On November 5, they’ll be serving scallop and salmon terrine, soup, a choice of seabass, beef shortrib or pasta, and cheesecake for dessert.
Silks, on the third floor of the grandstand, has a buffet and beverages for Dh425 — think oysters, beef shortrib, a live carvery and sushi.
Special offers The restaurants at the Meydan Hotel all have special race-night offers. All the restaurants (and rooms, by the way) face the racecourse. Farriers boasts a seafood package; Prime has live jazz, steak and cocktails; Millennium Lounge has a race-day package from 3pm with a bubbly afternoon tea, a four-course dinner and beverages; and Asian-fusion Shiba has two cocktails and two sushi items plus a main course. Call 04 381 3111.
All bets are off, right? True. But you can still walk away with cash each race night with seven competitions going on. There’s a new competition this season — the Superfecta competition, which is played on the final race of the evening. The Dh5,000 cash prize is divided among any players who correctly select the first four placed horses according to the official order of finish. Race-goers walked away with Dh266,000 during the 2014-15 season
Other competitions back this season are: Pick Six, Early, Middle and Late Tricast and the Triple Tricast; the Al Basti Equiworld Lucky Draw — with a Dh2,000 raffle prize and cash prizes up to seventh place also takes place.
Phone 04 327 2110 for bookings; 04 381 3111 for special dining offers Website Dubai Racing Club