meydan racecourse grandstand
meydan racecourse grandstand

Meydan Racecourse

(Photo : Meydan)


Dubai Racing Club has announced the launch of “Meydan Masters”, an international jockeys’ challenge to be held on 5th March at the new Meydan racecourse.

Held during the Dubai International Racing Carnival, the “Meydan Masters” will feature winning jockeys from the world’s 11 premier races of 2009, plus a special invitation to another rider to bring the number to a twelve.

“The races we have identified have been won by jockeys that are true masters of their craft and we are very excited about this initiative. We look forward to celebrating what will surely be a fantastic opening season at the Meydan racecourse,” said Dubai Racing Club CEO, Frank Gabriel.

The riders are: Aaron Gryder (won the Dubai World Cup) Ahmed Ajtebi (Dubai Sheema Classic) Calvin Borel (Kentucky Derby) Norihiro Yokoyama (Japanese Derby) Ryan Moore (King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes) Johnny Murtagh (Irish Derby) Corey Brown (Melbourne Cup) Mike Smith (Breeders’ Cup Classic) Olivier Peslier (Hong Kong Cup) *Mick Kinane (Derby) *Michael Kinane (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) **Christophe Lemaire (Prix du Jockey-Club) **Ted Durcan (St Leger)

*subsequently retired from race-riding

** offered places due to Kinane’s retirement

Meydan Board member Malih Lahej Al Basti said that the Meydan Masters will be a competition with a difference: “With racing now being so international, it is difficult to establish a formula for which jockey should represent which country. Jockeys now don’t necessarily ride full time in their home country. With the Meydan Masters, these world-class jockeys will represent themselves against their contemporaries from across the globe, those that excelled and triumphed on the biggest stage throughout 2009. There could be one rider fortunate enough to win more than one of the races we have identified, in which case we have identified alternate races in the same jurisdiction to invite another rider. For instance, Michael Kinane was invited courtesy of his Derby win, but having also won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, we have had to go to the alternate French race, the Prix du Jockey-Club, and its winning rider Christophe Lemaire. Kinane’s retirement means that we have also had to go to the alternate race in England which, for 2010, was the St Leger and its winning rider Ted Durcan.”

The Meydan Masters will be held over four support races on the programme that features the recently upgraded Gr.2 Zabeel Mile.

The Meydan Masters will conclude six weeks of racing, comprising nine meetings and 18 Group and Listed races, beginning with the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge on 28th January.

Extract from European Bloodstock News