The prestigious Dubai World Cup meeting is the latest major event to be cancelled over the coronavirus pandemic.
The world’s richest race meeting, with prize money of $35 million over the space of the carnival that features the $12 million Dubai World Cup, had been scheduled to go ahead behind closed doors with appropriate protocols in place however organisers have now abandoned those plans.
“To safeguard the health of all participants, the higher organising committee of the Dubai World Cup 2020 has decided to postpone the 25th edition of the global tournament to next year,” a statement from the government of Dubai’s media office said.
Nine-time World Cup trainer Saeed bin Suroor for owner Sheikh Mohammed was set to saddle the Benbatl this coming Saturday.
The much-travelled Benbatl won the 2018 Caulfield Stakes and ran only second to Winx in that year’s Cox Plate in Australia. The three-time Group 1 winner was set to take on the world’s best from the northern and southern hemispheres.
“This is happening all over the world, including England, and I think it is in the best interests of keeping everybody very healthy,” Bin Suroor told The Press Club.
“The health of everybody has to be the number one priority now, for everybody.
“We have to put this into perspective. What is happening around the world is shocking, and the government has made the right decision to look after people.
“For our sport, that is so important as we need our horses to run – that means everything for us – but at the same time we have a responsibility to look after our people.”
Bin Suroor who splits his time in both Dubai and England is not thinking of his own return yet,
However with horses in both countries, the welfare of his equine athletes remains of utmost importance.
“Travel has not been banned as yet, but I still have horses here so until I know what is happening with them I won’t be going back to Newmarket,” he said.