World Cup Switch to Turf Deemed Unlikely

The proposal from Dubai World Cup committee member Michael Osborne that the highlight of the meeting should be on turf racing and not a dirt race is unlikely to receive much support from his colleagues.

Fin Powrie, the director of racing and chief steward of the Emirates Racing Association, and another World Cup committee member, said the major change likely to be considered is making the $15 million meeting a two-day event.

It is also understood that Sheikh Mohammed, who devised the idea of staging the Dubai World Cup, is extremely keen that it continues as a dirt race and remains the focal point of the meeting.

Osborne raised the prospect of an upgraded turf race because he felt there was not sufficient interest in the Dubai World Cup on dirt from European and Australasian trainers. Left as is, it would continue to be dominated by U.S. trainers and lack true global status.

However, Powrie said it was inevitable that there would be limited interest from Australasian trainers – particularly because of quarantine restrictions –and from Europe "on the basis that European people don't treat dirt racing as seriously as the turf races."

Commenting further on his personal views, and stressing that "everything is in the melting pot," Osborne said he was keen for a two-day World Cup meeting with the group I Dubai Duty Free over 10 furlongs on dirt his preferred choice as a Friday highlight. The race, currently worth $2 million, would be given a cash boost so it could attract the best Southern Hemisphere and European horses.

"A two-day meeting is a good idea because when you look at all the facilities that are here it just doesn't make commercial sense to have it all for only five hours," Osborne said.

"We could put the Dubai Duty Free on the Friday and have it as a counter balance to the Dubai World Cup, but that's only my thinking."

Another option to be considered by the World Cup Committee is a six-furlong sprint on turf. A technical committee of international handicappers, which includes Arlington's Frank Gabriel, has been set up to advise the World Cup committee on other possible new races.