Thunder Snow ridden by jockey Christophe Soumillon and trained by Saeed Bin Suroor wins Dubai World 2018 at Meydan racecourse Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Highlights

  • $35 million in prizes on the day of the races
  • How to get to the venue and timing details
  • Show up in the fashion of the day for the Style Stakes
  • Gwen Stefani's concert will regale World Cup attendees at the end of the night

If you’re wondering what to wear to the Dubai World Cup this year, what time it starts and what’s in store on the big day … don’t worry about anything, we’ve got you covered.

Debra and Holly Finnigan wearing Roman and Karen Millen

Follow our guide to help you get to Meydan Racecourse dressed to impress and staying right on top of things - from the dos and don’ts to what awaits you once you step into the magnificient world of horse racing at the highest international level.

The Dubai World Cup meeting features nine glittering races, that run both on dirt and turf and over a variety of distances from 1200 metres to 3,200 metres.

$35million

accumulated prize money

The accumulative purse for the prize money on offer is a staggering $35 million – the highest anywhere in the world eclipsing major racing events like the Epsom Derby Festival, Royal Ascot, The Breeders’ Cup and Melbourne Cup.

More importantly the nine races, highlighted by the $12 million Dubai World Cup, have attracted some of the world’s best race horses to Dubai.

Fact sheet
The inaugural run of the Dubai World Cup was held in 1996 at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. The total prize money was around $3.41 million (Dh12.54 million) - a tenth of the prize money 23 years later in 2019.
Jockey Jerry Bailey riding Cigar to win the Dubai World Cup 1996 Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Once you’re in you will see some of the most famous jockeys and trainers joining promiment members of Dubai’s royalty including the Dubai World Cup founder His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and owner of Goldophin.

So, here is everything you need to know. 

How do I get my hands on a ticket?

Perhaps the best way is to book tickets online, where tickets are on sale for Apron Views (Dh350) situated close to the parade ring, The Premium (Dh1,900) which is opposite the finish, or The Gallery (Dh1,400) just after the finish line. You could also try and get a General Admission pass for Dh20 - subject to availability - to access public areas around the Grandstand.

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You could also consider The Terrace (Dh2,500) which is made up of corporate round tables or the stylish First Class Lounge (Dh3,000) which boasts an exclusive lounge and outside terrace facing the racecourse.

All rates mentioned are per person and tickets could be sold out for the most popular categories as the event is just 5 days away.

The venue

Meydan can host over 80,000 racegoers and boasts a Grandstand like no other on the planet. Spanning 1.5 kilometres, the iconic crescent-shaped roof, encased with solar panels, is a spectacular showpiece of modern sporting architecture.

What should I wear - the dress code

A lot of people are under the impression that a day at the races as an ultra-stylish affair. It doesn't have to be, but that depends on the kind of experience you are looking at.

Contestants of the Jaguar Style Stakes at the Dubai World Cup 2015 Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

There is no real dress code for General Admission at Meydan. It tends to be a long day and comfort dressing is the key to enjoying the day-night affair.

But if you intend to compete for some top prizes up for grabs for the best dressed at the Style Stakes, then it’s a whole different ball game. This is the occasion to don a show stopping hat and an eye-catching ensemble.

Style Stakes Guides

Gentlemen it’s your chance to dust off your suit for the big occasion and slip into a crisp shirt. There are prizes for best dressed man, woman, couple and the most original hat.

How can I get to Meydan Racecourse?

There are plenty of options including private car, RTA taxi or ride-share taxis and public transport. 

If travelling by public transport buses 66, 67 and 61D stop near the venue - you can use RTA's journey planner to plan your trip.

If you’re coming there by car, don’t worry, there are over 8,600 covered spaces for parking available.

At what time does the action start?

Gates open at noon, but the races begin at 3:45pm and go on until after 8pm.And that’s not all, there is a concert and after-party which starts at 9:30pm and takes place at Soho Garden and the WHITE.

How many races are there and what is the prize money?

There are nine races, eight for thoroughbreds and one for Purebred Arabians For this year the total purse money has been raised to $35 million (Dhs110 million).

What else happens besides the races?

This year, Gwen Stefani, has been announced as the concert artist for the event. The concert happens after the races have concluded

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A lot of other events await attendees, including a spectacular opening ceremony that will have you on the edge of your seats - a military band, stunt tricks by bareback riders, audio visuals, and of course amazing fireworks. There is a constant buzz as people mill around in the international village which features eateries and bars.