Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing and Breeding in the Middle EastMonday Dec 22nd, 2014
Horse racing is steeped in history in the Middle East and goes back hundreds of years in many Middle Eastern countries. Some of world's leading owners, trainers and racetracks are here and none more so than in the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates have there own Racing Authority which is one of the most respected and sophisticated in the world. There are excellent tracks and racing facilities at Nad al Sheba, Abu Dahbi, Jebel Ali, Sharjah, and Ghantoot. In 2010 what will probably be the most futuritic race track in the world will open in Meydan, Dubai.
Race tracks only opened recently in the Emirates (late 1970's). And while entry to racetracks of such quality in other parts of the world can be expensive, admission to all of the tracks in the Emirates is free.
Nad al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai held the world’s richest horse race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup in March 2007.
Arabian horse racing is also famous throughout the region especially in Saudi Arabia, Dohar, Qatar, Egypt and Bahrain. Even during the difficult times in Iraq punters would queue up at the Bagdahd equestrian club. Just off the coast of Lebanon the Nicosia Race Club draws regular large crowds, the Cypriots are in the Chinese and Australian league when it comes to gambling fanatics.
Greyhound racing in the Middle East is again going to be the most prevelant in United Emirates and the major racetrack in the region is just a one hour drive from Dubai at the Al Ain Dog Racing Club Al Ain. Although Greyhounds date back to ancient Egypt there does not seem to be any greyhound racing going on there at current. Also interesting to note that there are Jai Alai frontons in Egypt and some people even suggest the game actually was born there.