With an IMAX theatre and synthetic turf, Dubai's Meydan Racecourse is not your grandfather's racetrack. The futuristic complex is a marked change for those who trudged across Nad al Sheba and fought for a spot on the rails to take in the races of yore. The new grandstand, which saw visitors pour in for the World Cup on Saturday, stretches along one kilometre, promising an unparalleled view of the races for viewers - and not just from the five-star hotel above the track. So while Gloria de Campeao, the steed which won the Cup, may have taken home the highly coveted prize, the spectators also emerged victorious at the new world-class racing venue.
Perhaps Meydan will develop an identity to match its design. Top hats help to define a day at Ascot; a May afternoon at Churchill Downs is incomplete without My Old Kentucky Home. Frankie Dettori described Meydan as "something out of Star Wars", but there will be many more who will come to define this setting, primed to create traditions of its own.