The Dubai World Cup has been cancelled
The Dubai World Cup has been cancelled Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: As a result of the precautionary measures being taken by the UAE Government against the spread of coronavirus, the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) has cancelled the remainder of the 2019-2020 UAE racing season with immediate effect.

The Dubai World Cup evening had been scheduled to go ahead on Saturday, March 28, without paid spectators and associated events, including race-day entertainment. However, the meet was cancelled on Sundey afternoon. A statement released by the ERA confirmed the 25th Dubai World Cup anniversary celebrations will be postponed until next year.

“It is our responsibility to contribute in stopping it and safeguarding our participants, residents and guests,” said the statement.

Five domestic race meetings scheduled to be held post Dubai World Cup will not take place. The meetings were: Al Ain Racecourse on April 2 and April 9, Jebel Ali Racecourse on April 3 and Meydan Racecourse on April 3 and April 10.

However, it is believed that plans will be put in place to make the 2020-2021 UAE flat-racing season even better and to ensure that it will culminate in an anniversary special Dubai World Cup meeting in March 2021.

Given the fact that it is the official end of the season, the three championships for Top Trainer, Jockey and Owner have been decided.

Tadhg O’Shea collects a record eighth UAE jockey’s title, moving him one ahead of Ted Durcan, while long-time Dubai resident trainer Satish Seemar has won the title for the sixth time.

The champion owner is top Purebred Arabian breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda.

The deadly coronavirus has already led to the cancellation of almost all sporting and social events around the world.

On Thursday last week the UAE’s federal sports authority suspended all sporting events and competitions.

Meanwhile in Britain, racing came to a standstill with the Grand National, one of the biggest race meetings of the horse racing calendar, cancelled due to the outbreak.

England’s oldest horse race, the Kiplingcotes Derby, near Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, has also been cancelled.

The event, which has been held on the third Thursday of March since 1519, will instead see two riders walk a horse along the four-mile flat route in a bid to keep the tradition alive.

In America, this year’s Kentucky Derby, which is traditionally held on the last Saturday in May, has been pushed back to September.

The last time that the race was not held on its annual date was 75 years ago.

In addition, the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, which complete the American Triple Crown following on from the Derby, have all been postponed until autumn.