UAE season hosts 26 Group events

Dubai is set to host its first Group 1 races outside the Dubai World Cup card at the 2012 carnival, which will now feature a total of seven Group 1 events.

Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge and the Jebel Hatta, both held on the Super Saturday trials card at Meydan on Saturday March 10, have been upgraded to Group 1 level for 2012.

In addition, the Al Quoz Sprint, the 1000m turf race on the World Cup card, has also been upgraded to the top level so the richest night’s racing in the world now features five Group 1 events.

Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge is over the same course and distance as the $10 million Dubai World Cup and was won last year by Twice Over.

The Michael Bell trained Wigmore Hall beat subsequent Dubai Duty Free winner Presvis into third in last season’s Jebel Hatta.

J J The Jet Plane won the Al Quoz Sprint for South Africa.

“This is another significant step in the development of the sport of horseracing in the UAE,” Emirates Racing Authority’s Malih Al Basti said.  “The history of horse racing in this region is centuries old, and our efforts to upgrade our stakes is an example of our passion for the sport.”

In total, there will be 26 Group races throughout the 2011-12 UAE season, 10 at Group 2 and 10 at Group 3, as well as 8 Listed contests.

There will be a total of 53 meetings starting with Abu Dhabi on Sunday, October 30.  It will be followed by Jebel Ali on November 4 and Meydan on November 10.