THE NASMA GUIDE TO… DUBAI WORLD CUP
Powerful, graceful and synonymous with the region, the Arabian horse still plays a major role in Emirati culture and heritage. With the 23rd running of Dubai World Cup – the world’s richest horse race – set to take place on Saturday 31st March 2018, we’ve put together the ultimate equestrian guide to the city’s best equine pursuits.
A NIGHT AT THE RACES
The Nasma Luxury Stays team loves an evening out with a difference and the horse racing season is in full swing this month ahead of Dubai World Cup weekend, but if you can’t make the main event you can still enjoy on-track excitement with race nights taking place on 1st, 3rd, 10th, 15th and 17th March.
The spectacular Meydan Racecourse is the home of UAE racing and offers viewing and hospitality packages to suit every budget. A limited number of free admission tickets to the main grandstand are available on non-international carnival race nights but we recommend you upgrade your experience, whether it’s an al fresco seat in The Premium area or drinks and dining from the comfort of a grandstand suite (dubairacingclub.com).
Super Saturday (10th March) is the official ‘dress rehearsal’ for Dubai World Cup day, and a less pricey alternative to the big-ticket occasion; with an opportunity to meet your favourite equine stars and mingle with the city’s social set.
Flying home before the 31st? Our Nasma top tip for a sneaky peek at the pre-race action is a ticket to enjoy Breakfast With The Stars on Thursday 29th for an exciting early morning experience including live entertainment, raffle draws, interviews with the trainers and jockeys and a lavish breakfast buffet.
THE MAIN EVENT
Nine races and a total prize purse of US$30 million attracts more than 60,000 spectators for an afternoon and evening of thrilling dirt and turf action culminating in
the final US$10 million race and grand finale concert (Sia was the 2017 headline act).
An Apron Views ticket is your entry level option with access to grandstand seating, a full coterie of beverage options out on the lawn and the Rails Food Court inside the Meydan Grandstand. Book before 18th March and early bird tickets are a steal at AED 472.50 (normal price AED 630).
For a one-of-a-kind experience, it has to be the Cigar Suite on level five. A private table and terrace access overlooking the Parade Ring is all yours with an endless menu of afternoon tea, à la carte and buffet flavours complemented by free-flowing beverages and bubbles. At AED 4,987.50 per person (minimum two guests), it’s an investment, but is definitely unforgettable (dubaiworldcup.com).
DRESS TO IMPRESS
Think Ascot meets Melbourne Cup and you’ve got the picture with dapper suits, designer dresses, gravity-defying hats and heels the order of the day.
Do keep it classy. Our resident style insider, Malak at United Designers, stipulates hem lengths below the knee and a restrained décolletage, but morning suits for gentlemen are not a requirement. Oh, and if walking on grass in those ultra-expensive Louboutins isn’t for you, then stylish wedges are the answer.
Dubai’s upscale malls and boutiques are all geared up for race day. A Nasma Luxury Stays favourite is local hat designer Evelyn McDermott (email@example.com), while Ana Bella Millinery travels the world crafting custom headgear (anabellamillinery.co.uk) and Oasis Fashion at WAFI Mall is a popular go-to for hats and accessories. Fashionistas in search of something a little different should head to United Designers’ flagship store at Mirdif City Centre.
Strut your stuff on race day and enter the Dubai World Cup Style Stakes with a chance to win fabulous prizes and an honorary ‘best dressed’ title.
If you’re here with little ones then the Meydan Stable Tour (Tues/Weds in season; stabletours.meydan.ae) is a great way to introduce children to Dubai’s equestrian scene. Discover how the thoroughbred racing stars get ready to compete with a behind-the-scenes tour that kicks off with a five-star buffet breakfast at the adjacent Meydan Hotel where you can watch the horses working out on the track.
Head to the stables to learn how horses are groomed and conditioned, check out the Jockeys’ Room, Saddling Paddock and Parade Ring. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see the horses exercising in their own swimming pool in what can only be described as the equine equivalent of a luxurious villa stay with us.
Dust off your jodhpurs and feel at one with nature with an early morning hack, beach ride or dressage lesson at any one of a number of excellent equestrian centres. We recommend Jebel Ali Equestrian Club for beginner lessons and ladies only rides (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Emirates Equestrian Centre for more experienced riders (emiratesequestriancentre.com).
And for a suitably refined experience to wrap up your Nasma Luxury Stay, the Dubai Gold Cup Polo Series 2018 is a perfect day out with fast-paced chukka action and a choice of bespoke hospitality packages (dubaipologoldcup.com).
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