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Meydan's international race season kicks off with $920,000 Longines card

Surfer, ridden by Richard Mullen and trained by Satish Seemar, claimed the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 at the opening meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2015. (Dubai Racing Club / Andrew Watkins)

By Staff

Meydan Pillar Partner and Official Timekeeper, Longines presents the opening $920,000 Dubai World Cup Carnival card of 2016 on Thursday January 7.

The meeting is highlighted by the first rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge races for Purebred Arabians and Thoroughbreds.

It begins with the evening’s only Purebred Arabian race, the $60,000 Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge over the mile and is followed later in the card by the equivalent $250,000 Group 2 race for Thoroughbreds.

Each of the three-rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge may be used as preparation races for the $1m Dubai Kahayla Classic for Purebred Arabians and the $10m Dubai World Cup for Thoroughbreds.

The turf track will be opened for the first time this season with three handicaps taking place over 2,000m, 1,400m and 1,000m.

The launch of the 10-meeting Dubai World Cup Carnival signals the countdown to world’s richest day of racing, the Dubai World Cup, which takes place at Meydan on Saturday March 26, 2016 and carries a purse worth $30m.

Juan-Carlos Capelli, vice-president of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said: “We are pleased to be the Official Timekeeper of the important races taking place at this extraordinary facility. This partnership is part of the long-term commitment we have with Meydan as Official Partner, Official Timekeeper and Official Watch. Longines’ history with equestrian sports dates back to 1878. We are therefore very pleased to share this passion with Meydan as well as our core values: Elegance, Performance and Tradition."

Malih Al Basti, Meydan Group vice-chairman and chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee, said: “The traditional Longines-sponsored first meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is a highly anticipated raceday on the Meydan Racecourse calendar.

"Longines, our Official Timekeeper as well as a Meydan Pillar Partner, has been a constant presence at Dubai Racing Club since the earliest days of international racing in Dubai. This support has assisted racing in the emirate to achieve the global profile it now enjoys.

“Longines also presents the $6m Dubai Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup day - one of the premier turf contests anywhere in the world and we always look forward to welcoming the watch brand to Meydan.”

Thursday’s racecards can be viewed by clicking on www.emiratesracingauthority.com.