Dubai’s showpiece event, World Cup night at Meydan, is the latest big-race meeting to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic as the track’s organising committee moved to safeguard the health of potential participants.
The meeting was due to take place next Saturday behind closed doors with six Group 1s including the Dubai World Cup, which last year saw Thunder Snow become the first horse to land back-to-back editions of the contest.
A host of global contenders were set to compete at the meeting including 2018’s Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter and Japanese super filly Almond Eye.
Saeed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Meydan Group LLC, said: “Due to the ongoing global health implications of the coronavirus and precautionary measures being implemented by the UAE government, the organising committee regrets to announce the cancellation of the Dubai World Cup 2020 meeting at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday, March 28.”
The announcement preceded a statement from the Emirates Racing Authority confirming that the rest of the 2019-20 racing season had been cancelled.
It said: “In light of the fast-developing COVID-19 coronavirus situation and with the health and safety of the participants as our top priority, it is with regret that the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) cancel the remainder of the UAE racing season, including the Racing in Dubai Sale on April 11 and Horses in Training Sale on April 12.
“Additionally, Dubai World Cup 2020 will be postponed.
“Following the precautionary measures taken by the UAE government against the spread of the virus, it is our responsibility to contribute in stopping it and safeguarding our participants, residents and guests.”
Sixty strikes gold again
With a powerful late run to claim the Hong Kong Derby, Golden Sixty became only the second horse to claim the four-year-old Classic series in the nation.
Having taken both the Classic Mile and Classic Cup, Golden Sixty came widest round the home bend to deny Playa Del Puente in the final strides under jockey Vincent Ho and emulate Rapper Dragon, who took all three races in 2017.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro, who is trained by Francis Liu, has now won ten of his 11 starts.
Ho said: “The horse was really fit. It’s difficult to come from behind and sprint home like that. He’s a superstar for sure.
“I wasn’t too worried. I know he can produce a really good turn of foot and he relaxed well during the race.”