Coronavirus: Dubai World Cup to be held behind closed doors

Dubai Racing Club announce that the richest night in horse racing will only be attended by those with horse connections, racing officials, accredited media and sponsors

This month's Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse will be held behind closed doors, organisers said, due to fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dubai Racing Club released a statement late on Thursday evening saying that this year's Dubai World Cup, which takes place on March 28, will be closed to spectators, with only horse connections, racing officials, accredited media and sponsors permitted entry.

"Due to the ongoing global health implications of the Covid-19/coronavirus and precautionary measures being implemented by the UAE government, Dubai Racing Club will host the Dubai World Cup meeting on March 28 without paid hospitality spectators at Meydan Racecourse," the Club said.

"All supporting Dubai World Cup events, including the Post Position Draw (Wednesday, March 25), Breakfast with the Stars (Thursday, March 26) and Welcome Reception (Thursday, March 26), have been cancelled. Race day events, including entertainment, have also been cancelled."

The decision falls in line with the Emirates Racing Authority's directive issued earlier this week that all race meetings in the country be held without spectators due to concern over the spread of the coronavirus.

The Dubai World Cup, which this year celebrates its silver jubilee, is the richest night in horse racing highlighted by the $12 million main event and is the latest sports event in the country to be affected by the Covid-19 virus.

The UAE announced 11 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday.

The latest positive tests for Covid-19 take the total number of cases recorded in the country to 85.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention revealed earlier this week that 17 people infected with coronavirus have made full recoveries.