New races for next year's carnival with prize-money boost for World Cup card
Several new races will feature in the programme for the 2022 Dubai World Cup Carnival, which is scheduled to get under way at Meydan on Thursday, January 13.
There will be more than $7.5 million up for grabs across eight carnival meetings, one more fixture than this year's event but still down by two on 2020.
The carnival action culminates in early March with Super Saturday – the well-established dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup meeting the same month – and the card will feature the inaugural running of a 7f turf race, the Ras Al Khor, worth $300,000.
Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook, chairman of Dubai Racing Club, said: "The distance of 1,400 metres, or seven furlongs, is one of the most popular in racing, yet there are very few high-value feature events run over the trip. We believe the Ras Al Khor will eventually become a global race that will be promoted to our Dubai World Cup meeting."
Also new for 2022 is the Jumeirah Series for three-year-olds on turf. This will feature the $150,000 Jumeirah Classic over a mile, which will be supported by a 7f prep race, and the $200,000 1m2f Jumeirah Derby, for which there will be a 1m1f trial.
The Jumeirah Classic replaces the Meydan Classic, in which the Charlie Appleby-trained Naval Crown and Master Of The Seas finished first and second this year, but retains Listed status. There are also a couple of new six-furlong turf events for three-year-olds.
The new races are in addition to the longstanding three-year-old dirt contests, such as the UAE 2,000 Guineas, Al Bastakiya and UAE Derby, which have had prize-money increases.
Prize-money for the supporting races at this year's Dubai World Cup meeting were reduced, but purses have been enhanced for 2022 to a total value of $30.5m.
All races on the World Cup card on Saturday March 26 will be run for at least $1m, and the Dubai Racing Club has announced that the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic will have a $6m purse, so restoring its pre-pandemic value.
The Group 1 Dubai Turf, sponsored by DP World, is being increased to $5m, while the flagship event – the Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline – will have a purse of $12m.
Comment: new 7f turf race a questionable addition
Opportunities for three-year-olds on the turf have been rather limited at the carnival over the years so an increased programme, headed by the Jumeirah Series, looks sure to prove a success. It is unlikely to detract too much from the dirt events as the surfaces are so different that few horses are fully effective on both.
However, the Ras Al Khor, a 7f turf race for older horses on Super Saturday, is a questionable addition – certainly given the current shape of the programme.
The same card already has the 6f Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint and that event seems likely to be diluted by the Ras Al Khor, which carries an extra $50,000 in prize-money.
Longer term, though, it would be no surprise if this move leads to the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, and in turn the Al Quoz Sprint, being reduced in distance to five furlongs. It wasn't that long ago that the Al Quoz was run over the minimum trip anyway.
In this scenario, the Ras Al Khor could prove a success without taking anything away from the established sprints and it may not be long before the seven-furlong options are beefed up further, with this race being promoted to the big night.
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