Billion-dollar racing complex opens in Dubai

January 30, 2010

Gallopers at the first race meeting at the new Meydan City complex.

An artist's impression of the racecourse and marina at Meydan City.

Touring Meydan's facilities during the trial races are Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Meydan, Ahmad Al Shaikh, Vice Chairman of Meydan and Sultan Al Subosi.

Dubai has officially opened its $US1.25 billion racing complex.

The opening race meeting was attended by Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and begins a buildup to the $US10 million Dubai World Cup on March 27.

The futuristic flagship racecourse is the brainchild of the sheikh, who set out not only to create the ultimate race venue, but an integrated city that is sustainable and environmentally responsible.

The associated Meydan City will feature the Meydan Free Zone and four distinct sub-districts - the Meydan Racecourse with its futuristic grandstand able to accommodate 60,000 people; the Meydan Metropolis, a series of state-of-the-art business parks; Meydan Horizons, where business towers intermingle with luxury waterfront developments; and Meydan Godolphin Parks, with its Godolphin Tower, created in the image of a thoroughbred.

The race grandstand spans 1.6km and includes the world's first five-star trackside hotel, with 290 rooms, a museum and gallery, a movie theatre and corporate facilities.

The facility's opening follows the January 4 unveiling of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

However, other projects are on hold as Dubai struggles with debt.

Sheikh Mohammed is one of the world's biggest investors in thoroughbred bloodstock.