DUBAI // The world’s most valuable horse-race meeting in Dubai has a new multimillion dollar backer from Abu Dhabi.
The International Petroleum Investment Company has signed a two-year deal worth Dh3.7 million a year to sponsor Al Quoz Sprint, a 1km thoroughbred flat race run on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan Racecourse. This year’s meeting, with Dh86 million in prize money at stake, takes place on March 29.
“We are doing this because we are keen to be engaged at a local level with sports that have a cultural heritage in the UAE,” said Khadem Al Qubaisi, managing director of IPIC, a sovereign wealth fund owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi.
“IPIC is a strong supporter of Emirati culture, tradition, and heritage. The Arabian horse is part of the UAE’s heritage and there is a long tradition for horse racing. Dubai World Cup is one of the biggest horse races in the world with a global audience.”
Mr Al Qubaisi hoped the deal would benefit athletes and sportsmen.
“We are a firm believer that there are dozens of future sporting heroes among the UAE population. Our responsibility is to support the various sporting events and federations in the UAE so that they can empower athletes to compete at a national and international level.”
IPIC will also sponsor the Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan Racecourse this Thursday, the CISM World Military Endurance Championship, organised by the Dubai Equestrian Club, on March 6 and the Racing at Meydan meeting on March 13.
The group has previously signed sporting deals with Al Jazira Football Club in Abu Dhabi and Manchester City of the English Premier League. It has also sponsored Formula 1 racing, judo, jiujitsu and freestyle jetski events.
Mr Al Qubaisi said: “In any country, particularly at the community level, sport is an inherent component of a healthy society. The Government of Abu Dhabi owns IPIC, hence we have a moral obligation to contribute to the future welfare of the community.
“One such way is to encourage Emiratis to become excited and engaged in sport, both as spectators and participants. IPIC’s long-term community strategy is to help Abu Dhabi government institutions make sport a cornerstone of every child’s upbringing in the UAE.”
The Meydan group welcomed the two-year sponsorship.
“This is a wonderful partnership that further represents the appeal of the Dubai World Cup and horse racing here in the UAE and around the world,” said Saeed Al Tayer, chief executive and chairman.
Al Quoz Sprint was first run in 2007 as part of the Dubai International Racing Carnival. It was moved to Dubai World Cup night in 2010 to coincide with the opening of the Meydan Racecourse. In 2012, it became a Group 1 event, the pinnacle of the horseracing hierarchy.