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Nad Al Sheba through the years

The 2009 World Cup is expected to be the last one held at the Nad Al Sheba course, until the Meydan track opens its doors in 2010, marking a new era for racing in the UAE.
The track was originally just a sand course used for training. Under instructions of the late Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Nad Al Sheba track was laid down in 1986.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is pictured with a horse at the Nad Al Sheba camel race track in March 1982.
The late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan endorsed camel racing and provided financial support for citizens who were caretakers of camels. A race takes place at Nad Al Sheba in this shot from February 1984
The area of Nad Al Sheba is bordered to the north by Al Markada, Bu Kadra and Ras Al Khor Industrial Areas, and to the west by Al Quoz. Admission to the public enclosures is free, and very popular, as this snap from December 1986 demonstrates.
The shot was taken in December 1986. Two years later, in 1988, the Maktoum Grandstand was built, undergoing expansion and refurbishment in 1993, 1999 and again in 2000. Several years later, in 1991, the existing track was constructed and in 1992, when this photograph was taken, the first official race meeting took place.
Floodlights were added for night riding during the 1992-1993 season and an additional grass track was added in the 1993-1994 season. The course is pictured here in April 1992.
Nad Al Sheba comprises four sub-communities. The race course is located in Nad Al Sheba 1, while the stables that bred racehorses such as Dubai Millennium and Essence of Dubai are located in Nad Al Sheba 2.
One of several major events held at the track was the International Jockey Championship, which began in March 1993.
The competition ran for two years, in March 1993 and 1994, and was a team event with competitors from the Americas, Europe, the UAE, Malaysia and Japan. The winners are presented with their trophy in this shot from March 1994.
Nad Al Sheba is also home to the Dubai International Racing Carnival, where approximately 200 horses from all over the world are invited to the ten meetings of the carnival that take place from January until March. Jockeys line up in this photo from 1994.
During the racing season, which is from November through to March, there are usually 6 or 7 races held every Thursday night, each at 30 minute intervals. A horse races to victory in this photo from November 1994.
During the racing season, which is from November through to March, there are usually 6 or 7 races held every Thursday night, each at 30 minute intervals. A horse races to victory in this photo from November 1994.
Nad Al Sheba has a 2,200 metre left-handed dirt race track and a left-handed turf course. The surface of the dirt track is comprised of a mixture of fine dune sand, silt and clay and three inches of cushion are harrowed up daily for training and racing alike. This picture shows the course in October 1995.
The turf track is 2,121 metres in circumference and 20 metres wide. It has three chutes to accommodate starting points for races scheduled over 2,000 metres, 1,600 metres and 1,200 metres.
Nad Al Sheba is perhaps most famous for the annual Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race. Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, pictured here in February 1996 with Shaikh Mohammad, has won three of the 12 Dubai World Cup Classic races.
The Dubai World Cup was the creation of Shaikh Mohammed, who owns Godolphin Racing, one of the world's leading thoroughbred breeding and racing operations. The picture shows Nad Al Sheba in March 1996
The Dubai World Cup consists of seven races, with the winner of the evening's final race staking a prize of USD 6 million. Gulf News this year sponsored the Dubai Golden Shaheen race and is the official newspaper of the event, as this photo from April 1997 shows.
The main World Cup race is a Group 1 flat race on dirt for Northern Hemisphere thoroughbred four-year-olds & up, and for Southern Hemisphere thoroughbred three-year-olds & up, run over a distance of 2,000 metres.
Aside from the racing, the World Cup is famous for fashion. Ladies are encouraged to wear hats and the BurJuman Style Stakes competition rewards the best dressed race-goers with generous prizes. These ladies are seen attending the 1998 Dubai World Cup.
A shot from the World Cup in 1998. The Millennium Grandstand that now houses up to 50,000 race-goers was officially opened for the 2001 World Cup. Described as the best of its kind, it offers unparalleled viewing and hospitality facilities.
The World Cup race is operated through the Emirates Horse Racing Authority (EHRA) whose Chairman is Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs of United Arab Emirates.
British jockey Richard Hills is pictured at Nad Al Sheba in February 1999. Hills' biggest win to date was the 1999 Dubai World Cup on Almutawakel.
The Godolphin Gallery at Nad Al Sheba displays a collection of glittering racing memorabilia. The World Cup trophy is seen side-on in this photo from January 2001
The 2009 World Cup is expected to be the last one held at the Nad Al Sheba course, until the Meydan track opens its doors in 2010, marking a new era for racing in the UAE.

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