Dubai World Cup 2024

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Dubai Racing Club Press Release
Updated: March 26, 2024
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The Dubai World Cup, held at Meydan Racecourse, is the world's richest horse racing event, featuring a massive purse of $12 million. Wager on this exciting annual event online with OTB!

When is the 2024 Dubai World Cup?

Saturday March 30, 2024.

Where is the Dubai World Cup raced?

The Dubai World Cup is raced at Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, UAE.

Dubai World Cup 2024

1 1/4 m (Dirt) | Total race value: $12,000,000

  • 2024 Location: Meydan Racecourse; Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Inaugural Race: 1996
  • Distance: 2,000 metres (about 10 furlongs)
  • Track Type: Left-handed, Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Northern Hemisphere 4yo+ & Southern Hemisphere 3yo+
  • 2024 Purse: $12 million.
  • 2024 Race Date: Saturday, March 30
  • Where to Watch: NBC Sports and online at

Defending champion Ushba Tesoro Draws Post 5

Mar 27 - Defending champion Ushba Tesoro has drawn post 5 in Saturday's Group 1, $12 million Dubai World Cup.

The Noboru Takagi-trained Japanese star faces a captivating rematch at Meydan with American challenger Señor Buscador, with a head having separated the pair in last month's Saudi Cup.

Ushba Tesoro's name was the first to be picked out in the ceremony at the Armani Dubai Hotel on Wednesday evening, with the position assigned at random.

Jockey Yuga Kawada said, "stall 5 is not so bad, but he's a horse that has to come from behind so really one to 12 makes no difference."

Kabirkhan, the sensation from Kazakhstan who is trained in the UAE by Doug Watson, drew 2.

"I kind of wanted the middle," Watson said. "If he always broke really well I'd be delighted but he hasn't done that. We've been working on it, but we hope he can do it on the night. At least it's a shorter way around."

Owner Tlek Mukanbetkaliyev added, "Happy to get an inside draw and hopefully he can be comfortable near the lead."

Japan has brought a strong representation for the 1 1/4-mile, actually 2,000-meter, showdown. Ace jockey Christophe Lemaire is back aboard Derma Sotogake in post 8, a dazzling winner of the UAE Derby (G2) at this meeting last year and subsequently the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

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Trainer Hidetaka Otonashi said, "We didn't mind any stall really. Eight is considered a lucky number in Japan, so that's pretty good."

Lemaire described post 8 as "a very good draw in the middle which allows me to go forward into the first bend without burning up too much gas."

Frankie Dettori is back aboard Bob Baffert rising star Newgate, a recent winner under the legendary rider in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1). Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes was on hand as he was assigned post 6.

The other big local hope is Juddmonte's Laurel River, who is trained by Bhupat Seemar and entered the Dubai World Cup picture after a clear-cut victory in the Burj Nahaar earlier in the month. He must run from the widest post of all in 12.

Jockey Tadhg O'Shea said: "Obviously being right on the outside is far from ideal. Saying that he's a horse with a lot of early speed, and we'll just have to play the cards we're dealt."

A promising sprinter-miler in the U.S., Laurel River was a big winner of the Pat O'Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar in 2022 with two of Saturday's rivals, Señor Buscador in third and Defunded in sixth. Then trained by Bob Baffert, he was set to start as one of the primary contenders for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile that year before injury ruled him out.

Given a long break, he joined Dubai trainer Bhupat Seemar late last year. Well-beaten fresh in the Al Shindagha Sprint (G3), he returned to his brilliant best with a facile victory in the Burj Nahaar (G3), which turned Seemar's attention to a potential Dubai World Cup berth.

The question for Seemar, though, is whether Laurel River, untested beyond a mile, will stay the 1 1/4-mile trip, actually 2,000 meters, of the Dubai World Cup.

"We think the best is still to come with him," Seemar said. "There's a lot about whether he will stay or not, but me and my jockey (Tadhg O'Shea) feel that he will not just stay but will be even better over this trip. He wasn't stopping in the Burj Nahaar and I think he will be just fine.

"He's a very high class horse and high class horses all tend to have speed and versatility. I remember Ghostzapper did a similar thing, he started off sprinting and then stretched out to win a Breeders' Cup Classic. It was easier to start him out over six (furlongs) and then step up to a mile, we had a lot to work with and he's taken it all so well."

Wednesday's barrier draw only served to confirm that, all being equal, Laurel River will lead uncontested in the Dubai World Cup. Drawn in post 12, O'Shea will attempt to cross the field in the short run to the first turn.

The lineup is completed by Crupi in post 1, other Japanese runners Dura Erede 3 and Wilson Tesoro 11, Defunded 9, Military Law 4 and Clapton 7.

Trainer Chad Summers said of Clapton, "We were hoping to be drawn in the middle."

Alex Solis, owners' representative of Crupi, said, "We're drawn inside so hopefully we can save all the ground."

Wilson Tesoro's jockey, Yusuke Hara, said, The last two starts the jockey asked him to take a position early, so I'm expecting him to be a little bit keen. So that stall is ideal."

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Frankie Dettori to ride Newgate in $12M Dubai World Cup

Mar 25 - The countdown to one of the world's most prestigious races ramped up on Monday morning as 12 horses were declared for the $12 million feature.

Most of the international contenders took to the Meydan main track in preparation for Saturday's contest. Notably, Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Newgate breezed five furlongs over the dirt with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes on hand, representing five-time winning handler Bob Baffert.

The son of the all-conquering Into Mischief made his appearance at the top of the mile chute and was partnered in his work by exercise rider Humberto 'Beto' Gomez.

Tom Ryan, representing part-owner SF Bloodstock, deemed the gallop 'perfect' in a post on X, while Barnes offered a wry smile post-work: "We're very happy with where he is at, he did exactly what we wanted this morning."

Frankie Dettori, who won his record-equaling fourth World Cup atop the Baffert-conditioned Country Grammer back in 2022 was in the irons for the Big 'Cap and is at the controls again this weekend.

The local brigade is also preparing for Dubai's biggest race with Emirati trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri saddling up veteran Military Law. The nine-year-old, a fixture of the local ranks for five seasons, will contest his first Dubai World Cup after upstaging his rivals in the Al Maktoum Classic (G2) on super Saturday.

"He has actually been invited to run in the Dubai World Cup three times, but this will be the first time he actually makes it to the race so it is very exciting," Al Mheiri said. "He has been improving with every race this season but it will not be easy in this field and against these horses. Hopefully, he can draw between gate three and gate six to give him his best chance."

Bob Baffert Targets Fifth Dubai World Cup

Mar 18 - "They're taking off right now, how about that?!"

Bob Baffert is in relaxed mood in California as two of his horses speed down the runway, about to launch for Dubai. Newgate heads for the $12million Dubai World Cup and Hopkins for the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Despite success in the desert which has seen him win four Dubai World Cups so far, Baffert won't be joining his horses on the trip.

"I love Dubai, I'd love to go but I'm shorthanded an assistant right now, so Jimmy [Barnes] is going, he'll be there at the weekend, along with a rider and a groom."

Barnes was also at the helm when Country Grammer won Baffert his most recent Dubai World Cup, in 2022. This time he takes charge of Newgate, who returns to action less than a month after winning the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on March 3rd.

"With Newgate I know I'm kind of back a little quick, but he's a really hardy horse who carries a lot of flesh," says Baffert. "He's doing better now than he was going into the Big Cap when he was a little heavy. I really think he's doing well."

Newgate will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, who combined with Baffert on Country Grammer and who also has three other Dubai World Cups on his resume.

"The thing about Frankie Dettori is the great riders don't need any instructions," continues Baffert. "When the gate opens, they figure it out. The last thing on my mind is worrying about Frankie and what he's going to do on the horse. My job is to make sure that the horse shows up."

Baffert is under no illusions as to the strength of the $12million dollar race, which features defending champion Ushba Tesoro as well as Laurel River, who he trained to win the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar, before the six-year-old moved to Bhupat Seemar in Dubai.

"I'm running against one of my old horses [Laurel River]. He's a really talented horse; a top calibre horse. They can all stay if they don't go too fast early on."

Is there any similarity between Newgate and Baffert's four winners of the race? The answer is emphatic.

"Totally different. My other winners were in top form, coming off big races. Country Grammer was coming off a long layoff, ran in Saudi and he was just a true mile and a quarter horse. The ride that Frankie gave him was unbelievable. He beat Life Is Good who was a great horse but the distance got him a little bit.

"Arrogate was one of the greatest performances of any racehorses that I've ever trained - he was incredible. To me, it was like a Secretariat-like performance. What he did that night; not breaking, being last, coming around... Gun Runner was a great horse and he just catches him like it was an exercise gallop.

"Winning the first time with Silver Charm was just really exciting. It's the only race that you lead your horse up there and you go `I think he's doing well but I really don't know. I hope he handles everything.'

"I remember Captain Steve; he was normally on the lead but he was four lengths off it and I thought `maybe he's not running' and then he came up and won it. It's magical, it's a challenge and I love challenges, but if you have a good horse and he's ready, you can win it."

Baffert also has a Dubai Golden Shaheen on his roll of honour, having won the $2million sprint with Secret Circle in 2015. His runner this year, Hopkins, was fourth to the reopposing Sibelius 12 months ago.

"Hopkins ran well last year and I think he's doing better this year," says Baffert. "He always shows up; he's big strong horse. I had him and another horse but I decided to go with him because he's doing so well right now. When you go halfway across the world you have to make sure your horse is in top form because it's a tough ship."

Missing out on Dubai, where will he watch the action? Over a relaxed lunch with friends, perhaps? Not the case.

"I usually watch it in my barn at Santa Anita with all the grooms; we all huddle up to watch. It's exciting when they run well. To win the Dubai World Cup, it's just a thrill."

Baffert's love of Dubai is rooted in genuine emotion, understandably so.

"Dubai - every time I go, it changes. It's so much fun - I've gone snow skiing there! It's a working vacation.

"I have great memories because I had a heart attack there and Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] saved me. I have so much respect for Sheikh Mohammed and his family - he's such a visionary guy and has been really good for American racing.

"I got a second chance; he sent a top guy [Doctor] in there and he fixed me. There wouldn't have been any Triple Crowns if he hadn't saved me."

2024 Dubai World Cup Meeting Nominations

Thirty-three Thoroughbred Group 1 winners are among horses from 13 countries expected to run at the $30.5 million Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan Racecourse on March 30.

Defending champion Ushba Tesoro, Saudi Cup (G1) winner Señor Buscador and Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Derma Sotogake are among a projected lineup of 13 for the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1). The locally trained contingent is led by Kazakhstan-owned sensation Kabirkhan, winner of the Maktoum Challenge (G1).

The $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) has a projected field of 12, with 2022 winner Shahryar aiming to become the first horse to win it twice. He is part of a formidable Japanese team that includes top fillies Liberty Island and Stars On Earth. Taking them on from Europe is Breeders' Cup Turf winner Auguste Rodin and Coronation Cup (G1) winner Emily Upjohn, and the Godolphin challenge relies on 2021 UAE Derby (G2) winner Rebel's Romance.

Lord North goes for an unprecedented fourth win in the $5 million Dubai Turf (G1). The John and Thady Gosden-trained gelding faces a potential 14 rivals, including Arima Kinen winner Do Deuce and Lord's North stablemate, the multiple Group 1-winning mare Nashwa.

There are two valuable sprints on the card, including the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1). Defending champion Sibelius faces last year's fourth Hopkins, while the Japanese challenge is headed by impressive Riyadh Dirt Sprint winner Remake.

The $1.5 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) has an international look, with multiple Grade 1 winner Casa Creed traveling from America, Jasper Krone from Japan and several British runners, including Group 1 winners Regional and Emaraaty Ana. California Spangle, winner of the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup (G1) last weekend, journeys from Hong Kong.

The card is bolstered by three Group 2 races, beginning with the Godolphin Mile. The strong lineup features 2023 winner Isolate and Saudi Crown, third in the Saudi Cup last time out.

Devastating Saudi Derby winner Forever Young is the star attraction in the UAE Derby (G2), in which he is likely to be joined by U.S. raider Pandagate, as well as UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) winner Mendelssohn Bay and Henry Adams and Navy Seal, both trained by Aidan O'Brien.

O'Brien runs Tower Of London in the Dubai Gold Cup (G2), in which his likely opponents include Irish St Leger (G1) winner Eldar Eldarov, Yorkshire Cup (G2) winner Giavellotto and Lonsdale Cup (G2) winner Coltrane.

The traditional curtain raiser to the day is the $1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1) for purebred Arabians in which a likely field of 13 includes 2022 winner First Classs and the unbeaten Saudi star Asfan Al Khalediah.

About the Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup was conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 1996. Up until 2017, it was the world's richest race with a purse of $10M USD made available. It was briefly surpassed by the $12M Pegasus World Cup. Following the reduction of the Pegasus World Cup purse and the increase of the Dubai World Cup purse in 2019 to $12M USD, the UAE once again hosts the world's richest horse racing prize.

Before migrating to the Meydan Racecourse, which opened in 2010, the Dubai World Cup was hosted at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.

The next renewal of the Dubai World Cup will be on Saturday, March 27th, 2021 and once again hold a purse of $12M USD. This follows the cancellation of the event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the best racehorses produced by the United States have travelled to the Dubai World Cup and won. These include Arrogate (2017), California Chrome (2016), Animal Kingdom (2013), Well Armed (2009), Curlin (2008), Electrocutionist (2006), Roses in May (2005), Pleasantly Perfect (2003), Silver Charm (1998) and Cigar (1996). In fact, Cigar won the inaugural running of this race.