Nominations for the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup (G1), sponsored by Emirates Airline, closed on January 11 with 136 of the globe’s premier Thoroughbreds throwing their names into the ring, including iconic Australian mare Winx currently on a 22-race winning streak.
Scheduled for March 31, 2018, at Meydan Racecourse the 2000m dirt fixture has been won by such superstar champions as Cigar, Dubai Millennium, Invasor, Curlin, California Chrome and Arrogate.
In 2018, nominations for the Dubai World Cup include American champions West Coast and Forever Unbridled, as well as Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Talismanic, Japan’s Champions Cup (G1) winner Gold Dream and the previous two winners of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), Diversify and Hoppertunity.
Other G1-winning nominees of note include Thunder Snow, Apollo Kentucky and Seeking the Soul, while top-class G2-winning athletes Gunnevera, Second Summer and Good Samaritan add significant depth.
International luminaries are abundant in the nominations for the nine-race, $30-million card – the richest day on the global racing calendar. The $6,000,000 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) over 2410m on turf is topped by champion Cracksman, the world’s top-rated 3-year-old of 2017, as well as Japan Cup (G1) winner Cheval Grand and G1 winner Cloth of Stars, while the $6,000,000 Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1) over 1800m attracted the world’s top-rated horse in training, Australian superstar Winx, a daughter of Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, as well as champion World Approval and last year’s winner Vivlos.
The card’s two sprints showcase some of the fastest horses on the planet. The $2,000,000 Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News (G1) over 1200m on dirt is topped by defending champion Mind Your Biscuits, Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Roy H and Centenary Sprint Cup (G1) winner D B Pin, while the $1,000,000 Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1) over 1200m on turf features defending champion The Right Man, British Champions Sprint (G1) winner Librisa Breeze and UAE’s top-rated horse, Ertijaal.
A pair of Group 2 events, each worth $1,000,000, respectively boast strong global intrigue.
The Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, a 3200m turf marathon, attracted three-time G1 winner and two-time defending champion Vazirabad, as well as Big Orange and Torcedor, while the Godolphin Mile sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One, over a 1600m on the dirt, includes Cigar Mile (G1) winner Sharp Azteca, as well as Kafuji Take and Accelerate.
The $2,000,000 UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) sees such rising stars as Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn, Japanese stakes winner Don Fortis and G2 winner Untamed Domain, a son of Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom.
At 1900m on dirt, the UAE Derby offers its winner 100 Road to the Kentucky Derby points, which can lead to a start in that American classic.
Dubai Racing Club received 1,412 nominations for 739 horses from 20 countries.
Malih Al Basti, Meydan Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee, said: “The 2018 Dubai World Cup is a truly global, world-class race day like no other, offering an action-packed meeting with the very best international horses, owners and trainers being represented in its nominations.
“It is also very heartening to see 19 countries on the list and we once again look forward to hosting an exceptionally international day of racing on Saturday, March 31st.
“While the Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest day of racing, it is also an opportunity for the racing community to gather and celebrate the very best the sport has to offer at the magnificent Meydan Racecourse, the perfect stage to host our international and local competitors.
“When it was created in 1996, it was part of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s long-term vision for racing, where he saw the event becoming a global highlight on the racing calendar.
“It is rewarding to see that vision fulfilled year after year.”
2018 DUBAI WORLD CUP NOMINATIONS
Total Nominations 1412
Total Horses 739
$10m Dubai World Cup Group 1 2000m (dirt) 136
$6m Dubai Sheema Classic Group 1 2410m (turf) 153
$6m Dubai Turf Group 1 1800m (turf) 253
$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen Group 1 1200m (dirt) 155
$1m Al Quoz Sprint Group 1 1200m (turf) 175
$2m UAE Derby Group 2 1900m (dirt) 140
$1m Dubai Gold Cup Group 2 3200m (turf) 93
$1m Godolphin Mile Group 2 1600m (dirt) 250
$1m Dubai Kahayla Classic Group 1 (PA) 2000m (dirt) 57
UAE national basketball team player Amal Jamal believes there are no longer any barriers preventing Emirati women from taking up sport and that the opportunity is there for them to take it.
Jamal, who is the captain of the Sharjah Ladies Club team taking part in the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) this week, has been playing basketball for more than 12 years and remains committed to the sport at both club and national team level.
“Ever since I was young, when I nine years old, basketball was the most famous sport played in my school,” Jamal told Sport360 on the sidelines of the AWST in Sharjah.
“I used to watch the men play it. The girls who were older than me, I used to watch them, how they played, how they thought about the sport, how enthusiastic they got, how they’d be trailing by four points and within a few seconds they turn things around. I really got into it from a young age.”
Jamal is an avid fan of LeBron James, “wherever LeBron James goes, I’m with him. He’s my favourite”, she says with a smile, and her passion for her sport shines through when talking about it.
What would she ask James if she ever met him?
“I would ask him how he continues to compete at such a high level after turning 30,” says the 28-year-old Jamal.
The Emirati centre forward says her parents supported her career in sport from a young age, with the only condition being that she took care of her studies as well. Jamal has a degree in architecture engineering and finds no reason why UAE women wouldn’t take up sport.
“I would tell young Arab girls that the opportunity is there for them to take it. If they think they can’t do sport because of the hijab or they cannot cover up, none of that is an obstacle now because the hijab and conservative wear is approved now in sport worldwide,” she explains.
“You can wear the hijab and run around and compete and reach an international level if you want, it’s all approved now. Parents must know that there are benefits in allowing their girls to do sport, for their children and themselves as parents because athletes ultimately raise their name and the UAE flag.”
Jamal believes a tournament like the AWST, that brings together 68 different teams, competing across nine sports, can help unearth local talent, while exposing UAE clubs to a higher level of competition.
She admits there is still work to be done though in order to promote the sport of basketball in the country.
“There are some youth teams coming up at the moment but in terms of other clubs with first teams, there aren’t that many. I really wish there were more teams because we are currently just four teams in the local league and that’s obviously not strong enough,” she concludes.
Al Ain showed once again dominated the President’s Jiu-Jitsu Cup after finishing top of the fourth round with a rich haul of medals.
At the Baynounah Educational Complex in Al Dhafra, the Garden City club clinched 14 golds, four silvers and nine bronzes to accumulate 627 points. They finished just ahead of Al Wahda (627 points) and Al Jazira (422).
Among the medalists was Hilal Naser from Al Dhafra Sports Club. Competing in the U-18 youth category, he won bronze medal and expressed his pride in being part of the tournament.
“Winning a medal in a championship named after His Highness the President is an honor. The round was very powerful since it is brings together players of different belts into the same category,” he said.
Gold medalist Reem Al Hashemi of Al Jazira, said it was difficult to win the 49kg division, saying every competitor showed a high level of skill and determination to win.
“We achieved our goal for this round, and the performance was wonderful at various levels, especially the playing level,” said Al Hashemi. “We have benefited greatly from playing with different clubs and players of different belts, which allowed us to gain experience and learn from our mistakes.”
Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, vice-president of UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF), added: “The success of each round of this prestigious championship supports the strategic goals of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation in spreading the affinity for this sport amongst the UAE youth, and assuring the UAE’s position as an international hub for this sport.”