As the first of 11 of the world's fastest thoroughbreds stepped onto Dubai's refurbished Nad Al-Sheba racecourse last March 27th, one of racing's most ambitious dreams came true.
For more than two decades, horse owners and breeders from the Arab world have worked to establish the Arab presence in international thoroughbred racing, not only by winning top trophies in the United States, England, Europe and Japan, but also by bringing world-class racing and breeding back to the Arabian Peninsula, the home of the thoroughbred's renowned ancestor, the Arabian.
With the establishment of the annual invitation-only Dubai World Cup, the United Arab Emirates became the home of one of the world's top racing challenges, and drew the attention of millions of enthusiasts around the globe. Among the horses entered in the inaugural race were a 13-time winner from Australia, a seven-race winner from Britain, last year's champion "dirt horse" from Japan, and Cigar, North America's horse of the year for 1995.
In the speed, endurance and sheer heart of these competitors was a breathtaking feeling of rightness—a sense of history coming round full circle.