The sparkling capital of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, is home to one of the world’s most exciting and renowned event: the World Cup of horse racing. Once a year, on the last Saturday in March, as it has been since 1996, the globe’s most influential people come to the Meydan Hotel to spend an elaborate weekend on the race tracks. They attend the finest race of any in the world and here, “fine” is taken to another level in every respect that very weekend.
Horse Racing with Pace and Grace
The air hums with an almost electric excitement in the seconds before the race starts and the elegant yet powerful horses explode out of the gate. The horses seem to fly, loosed from the bounds of earth, as they race over the 2000m race track. They are close together. Tumultuous applause and cheers ring out for that one horse high sums of money were bet on. The young horses race by the grandstand, a vision of strength and grace.. They know what to do; the jockeys, trying to be as lightweight as possible, guide their precious racing partners over the course. The finish line is near. They pick up pace. Just one more time. The crowd is holding their breath – and it’s over.
Esteem as the Actual Trophy
The pressure is gone; the victory is under the belt. For the top jockeys lucky enough to be on the backs of those world class horses, by far more valuable than most people’s homes, this weekend is everything or nothing. The Thoroughbred and Pure Arabian horses that line up for the nine World Cup weekend races are not just commodities that bring in the big money. Oh, no. They are treated like royalty, with only the best imaginable care. Because performance and victory – hence esteem – play an important role in the culture here.
Yes, we are talking about prize money in the amount of $10 million. But, watching the presentation of the trophy, one may get the feeling that this prestigious horse race it is not about the numbers, the money. This seems not to matter to the people in the grandstand, and those in the Winner’s Circle. It is about more, and the actual trophy is just a visual token of this. It’s about the horses, and reputation and victory. Just like Dubai, this event fits into a magical world that is far from the ordinary.