The United Arab Emirates will offer 26 group races, seven of them group I, during its 2011-12 racing season.
The Emirates Racing Authority announced Sept. 26 that the Al Quoz Sprint, Al Maktoum Challenge Round III, and Jebel Hatta have been upgraded to group I.
Along with the seven group I events, there will be nine group II races, 10 group III races, and eight Listed races.
The Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) program scheduled for March 31, 2012, will feature five group I stakes. The March 10 “Super Saturday” card, with two group I stakes, serves as a preview for the World Cup program.
“This is another significant step in the development of the sport of horseracing in the UAE,” Malih Lahej Al Basti, chairman of the steering committee for the Emirates Racing Authority, said in a statement. “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.”
Meydan Racecourse will also offer three other Dubai World Cup Carnival events that received upgrades. The Al Maktoum Challenge Round II will now be run as a group II event, and the Firebreak Stakes and Nad Al Sheba Trophy are now ranked group III.