DUBAI // Style and elegance were the order of the day for the thousands of spectators who defied a barrage of rain to witness the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on Saturday.
Upwards of 60,000 people gathered and millions more watched on television the world’s richest race day, when Arrogate underline its status as the world’s highest-rated horse by scooping the US$10 million (Dh36.7m) Dubai World Cup with ease.
The colt came from the back of the field to run down Gun Runner and Neolithic for the United States to take first, second and third places in the main race.
Before that, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Dubai Crown Prince, opened the 2017 Dubai World Cup and people swept into the venue to enjoy the racing as well as fashion competitions and many other entertainment activities, including an after-race concert by Australian pop star Sia.
The mile-long grandstand was overflowing with fans who remained in high spirits despite the weather.
Both men and women took the opportunity to show off their style, flair and elegance in the field of couture.
Nader Tearab was named the Best Dressed Man at the Meydan Style Stakes – his second win at the Dubai World Cup.
Best Dressed Woman Carol Merhij, a Lebanese resident of Dubai, was wearing a cool black-and-blue dress.
“We came a bit earlier this time due to the wet weather,” she said.
“I love horse races and this is why I am always keen to come and enjoy the races and entertainment that’s held alongside. Plus, I get to wear my best outfits.”
Abdul Rahman Ali, from Sudan, was more interested in the racing.
“I am very passionate about horse riders and the sport itself,” he said.
“I searched on the internet about the riders taking part and took notes.”
Yousef Salim was sitting on the ground surrounded by racing guides. Wearing a kandura, Mr Salim said he enjoys horses as they are part of Arab culture.
“The Dubai World Cup gives me a great opportunity to enjoy my favourite sports,” said the Jordanian who was raised in Dubai. “As an Arab man, horsemanship means a lot to me. Horse riding is a sport deeply rooted in our Arab culture.
“Horses are synonymous with the Arabian way of life and having horse races reflects the culture and heritage of the UAE and the greater Arab region. Horses symbolise strength, determination and resilience – exactly the qualities that are much needed at our present time.”
Linda Hatchett, 26, recently moved to Dubai and felt she had to attend the event. “I heard about this event from many people, so I came with a group of my friends to enjoy the race and Sia’s concert,” said the Australian, who was resplendent in a red dress.
Many in the crowd had arrived early after an alert issued by the Roads and Transport Authority on the eve of the event in light of the poor weather conditions.
The authority had arranged for 4,000 taxis to be on hand to transport the race fans, and 6,400 parking spaces were made available as well, with 100 shuttle buses to take them from the car park to the race venue.
Dubai Police officers and RTA officials were also deployed to manage the traffic over the course of the day.