Ready, Steady… And They’re Off!
The Dubai World Cup is one of our favourite Dubai events: fashion, a great day out and wonderful horse racing to watch! Here we take a look at what will be happening on the day! This year The Dubai World Cup is on Saturday March 30th, 2013.
What to wear, survival tips and everything you need to know about the richest horse race in the world!
As 11 of the world’s leading thoroughbreds stepped onto Dubai’s refurbished Nad Al-Sheba racecourse on 27 March 1996, one of racing’s most ambitious dreams came true. The brainchild of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai World Cup is a fitting tribute to his love of horses and of horseracing.
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, Great Britain, France and Japan, among others, but also by bringing world-class racing and breeding back to the Arabian Peninsula, the home of the thoroughbred’s renowned ancestor, the Arabian.
Horse racing began in the Emirate in October 1981, when the dusty Camel Track hosted the first thoroughbred. The race meeting consisted of three races- a sprint, a mile and a mile and a half. Just over a decade later in 1992, the now world- famous racing stable Godolphin began, followed by the inaugural Dubai World Cup meeting in 1996.
The initial Dubai World Cup race meeting put the United Arab Emirates on the map, as it has become the home of one of the world’s top racing challenges, and has drawn the attention of millions of enthusiasts around the globe.
Racing fashion often has strict rules and at Royal Ascot, for example, attendees are asked to wear skirts or dresses of “modest lengths” falling just above the knee or longer, whilst men should adorn tasteful morning attire which includes compulsory waistcoat and tie: cravats have also been banned. The Dubai races do not have as such strict rules but it is advisable to follow the norms of race attire.
It’s a must to wear a hat or fascinator at the races. It all adds to the spectacle and the feeling of specialness. Not everyone does though but many ladies have regretted their decision in the past so make sure you are joining in this age old tradition. This year full hats may be de rigueur as the Royal Ascot racecourse in the UK has even amended its current strict dress code to include a fascinator ban in the Royal Enclosure.
The sizes, shapes and colours of women's hats are as fun to look at as the horses themselves. Most hats will be trimmed or accessorised with beads, feathers, flowers and decorative scarves. Some hats even sport unusual additions such as plastic horses, stuffed birds, flags and all sorts of fun things. You should choose a hat that goes with your dress and go for a more understated and classy look unless you want to make a major splash!
Make sure you hat or head piece is secure throughout the day by using hair grips or hat pins; the event can sometimes be windy and you don’t want to be running after a blown off hat in your finery!
Remember if you do wear a hat you will most likely be wearing it all day due to the dreaded hat hair; if you think you are going to be removing the hat take some hair accessories with you like hair pins and a bobble so if the worst comes to the worst you can do a new hair style in the powder rooms! Try a messy bun or a sleek ponytail before you go so you have a back- up “do”.
Top Race Day Fashion Tips
If you’re struggling to grasp the race wear concept imagine it along the lines of what you would wear to a posh summer wedding and that should steer you in the right direction. Some people find it easier to buy the perfect head piece first and build the outfit around that.
Wear your shoes in if they are new. You will be stood up for a lot of the day so you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible. Don’t wear the highest and strappiest shoes you own. You may want to look your best but walking around in back-breaking high heels all day long will leave your feet in a state and can ruin the whole day. Additionally thin heels may sink in the ground if you walk on grassy areas. Wedges are a great option to prevent heel sinkage or get some Heel Stoppers.
Take a clutch bag that has a shoulder or wrist strap, so you can have refreshments in one hand and a guide book in the other. We recommend the following handbag essentials: a small sewing kit for any wardrobe malfunctions, some plasters in case you get blisters, sun tan lotion, hair grips, safety pins, a camera, a pen and make up basics for touch ups throughout the day.
Wash your hair the night before styling it. Many hairdressers say that freshly washed hair is harder to style because it is too soft.
Wear light summery colours as the weather is usually quite warm. To brighten your mood wear light pastels, colour blocks and print which are all fashionable in spring 2012.
Make sure you don’t have a VPL (Visible Panty Line). Plan your underwear for your outfit to avoid anyone catching a glimpse of what lies beneath. Additionally it is race day fashion etiquette to choose a bra that doesn’t show, and clear plastic straps don’t count as invisible because they can still be seen!
Don’t go overboard with the sparkles, diamante or sequins. Remember this is a daytime event, so leave the overly dressed up bling for eveningwear events.
Don’t choose an uber- fashionable dress that you have never experimented with before. Sticking to what you feel comfortable in and suits your shape is more flattering than wearing an outfit just because it is “in”. Wear something that you will feel great in; it’s a day to shine! Don’t wear a mini-dress either; save really short dresses for evenings out.
Don’t get your spray tan done on the same day as the race. They need to be washed off after they have set to avoid you turning mahogany or the tan staining your clothes, not to mention the smell, get it a day or two before.
Don’t wear makeup that is too heavy . During the warm day this will be too thick and may run leaving you looking like a panda. Choose a tinted moisturiser instead of foundation and don’t put lashings of eyeliner on.
Maxi dresses: these are great as the can cover a multitude of sins and look very stylish, asymmetric hems are currently in fashion so try to find a style with one of these. Go for the latest print versions and accessorise with jewelled sandals. Be careful with your underwear for this option: if you can’t wear a strapless bra, cover up shoulders with a light weight bolero to hide bra straps. Be careful the front is not too plunging too. Make sure you choose a more formal style to fit in with the crowd and not look like you’re heading for the beach.
Shift dresses: there are so many styles available in really striking colours. Make a statement in a simple shift dress by accessorising with striking colour shoes and hand bag. This style looks especially great with a full hat or a fascinator with netting over the face. You can go to town on the 50s look with this one too; always a timeless and elegant classic look.
Tea dresses: you can go all floral and flirty with a tea dress. The flouncy skirt will keep you cool and comfortable all day. Team with ballet style pumps for even more comfort.
Stay away from: ball gowns (yes we have spotted them before), extreme mini dresses; nothing above the knee should be worn, dresses with cut outs; the races are not a place to flash the flesh.
The Style Stakes
After all the effort you’ve made to look your best for the race day you might fancy getting something out of it; in that case enter into the Style Stake. Categories include Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Man, Best Dressed Couple and Best Hat. You’ll see Dubai’s style conscious race goers battling it out for the fantastic prizes on offer.
Below are useful tips indicating what the judges are looking for and what is considered inappropriate to help you when planning your outfit
Dress Code for Best Dressed Lady, Man, Couple and Hat:
The judges are looking for style, originality and attention to detail as well as appropriateness of the outfit for a race day. These are the criteria they look at:
- Hats/fascinators are essential for ladies
- Appropriateness of the outfit for races
- Interpretation of current trends
- Suitability of outfit to wearer
- Style and originality
- Attention to detail
- Grooming and deportment
- Coordination of ensemble
- Entrants must be 21 and above
The following list, whilst not exhaustive, would be considered inappropriate:
- Bare heads (hat or fascinator is essential)
- Revealing attire, i.e. miniskirts/dresses, plunging necklines, bare midriff, or clothing made of see-through materials
- Evening gowns
- Arriving late
- Contestants going on stage wearing sunglasses
- Under 21 years of age – all entrants must be at least 21 or older
If you’re entering we wish you all the best!
The Dubai World Cup is hosted at the Meydan Racecourse, Al Meydan Road, Nad Al Sheba.
Coming from Dubai: from the Sheikh Zayed Road, please take the 2nd interchange and turn left onto Al Meydan Road and follow the signs to Meydan Racecourse and The Meydan Hotel.
Coming from Abu Dhabi: from the Sheikh Zayed Road, please take the 2nd interchange and turn right onto Al Meydan Road, and follow the signs to Meydan Racecourse and The Meydan Hotel.
EW Top Tip: get there early to avoid long queues and book a car or a mini bus if there are a group of you going with a driver so you don’t have to worry about taxis at the end of the day!