Osborne Suggests Turf Race Be World Cup Highlight

Michael Osborne, the man who helped organize the inaugural Dubai World Cup 10 years ago, has suggested that the Sheema Classic (UAE-I), a grass race on the card, should be made the highlight of the world's richest race meeting, instead of the World Cup (UAE-I) on dirt that has attracted American runners Roses In May, Congrats, Lundy's Liability, and Choctaw Nation at Nad Al Sheba racecourse Saturday.

Although no longer the chairman, Osborne remains on the Dubai World Cup committee, adding real significance to his views.

"Success has been significant but there is still much to be done," Osborne said in assessing the success of the $15-million race meeting. "Perhaps we should slip the World Cup with the Sheema Classic (over 12 furlongs on turf) and make the turf race the big one. I'll be raising it with the committee; it's time to have the discussion on that one. Beyond America there is a very limited number of top-class dirt horses," he told the London Times. "The top horses in Dubai have to adapt to take them on, while both the Europeans and Australians are not that interested. Racing on turf is the dominant force around the world, so a turf race would attract a more international field. What we have now is too one dimensional."

If Osborne's theory were to become a reality, significant development work would be needed at Nad al Sheba. "The grass track here is now a fantastic racing surface but it is the only strip we have," he said. "The majority of horses coming here from abroad are turf horses. They would like those facilities to prepare and race on."

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