The attention of the racing world shifts its focus to Dubai and Nad Al Sheba on Thursday with the beginning of the sixth Dubai International Racing Carnival, the most international Carnival ever run.

The 2009 Dubai International Racing Carnival will be the final one staged at Nad Al Sheba racecourse before the move to Meydan and the largest collection of international horses ever assembled befits a fitting farewell to Dubai’s first racecourse.

Beginning with the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge on Thursday and culminating with the 14th Dubai World Cup on March 28th, over 200 international horses from 16 countries will compete for over US$31,000,000 in prize-money.

“The Dubai International Racing Carnival has captured the attention of the world’s horsemen since its beginning in 2004 and this year is no exception with record numbers,” said Frank Gabriel Jr, CEO of Dubai Racing Club.

“The Maktoum Family has been firm in their commitment to international racing around the world and the success of the Dubai International Racing Carnival has proven that trainers around the globe share that drive and commitment.”

An increased number of horses from Japan and France, the return of Australia as well as the usual strong contingent from South Africa and Great Britain are again to the fore this year whilst last week’s conclusion of the Winter Racing Challenge at Nad Al Sheba proved that Saudi Arabia will be strongly represented.

“Last year we had four horses emerge from the Carnival to win at the Dubai World Cup meeting which, in essence, is what it is all about, and while that will be hard to surpass, the horses coming for this year suggest that it may just eventuate,” said Martin Talty, Manager of the International Department.

“The Dubai Racing Club’s worldwide agents have done a great job in securing the numbers we have and the work of our official transporter Janah in getting the horses here are vital to the success of the Carnival.”

The Dubai Racing Club is also pleased to welcome back some of the most recognized brands worldwide as partners of the Dubai International Racing Carnival, their association vital to its success.

We are proud to have the support of our Carnival partners Shadwell Estate, Al Tayer Motors, Dubal, Derrinstown Stud, GPD Investments, Gulf News, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Etisalat and Shadwell Farm over the course of the next 10 race meetings.

Safiya Burnell, Head of Sales & Marketing said: “Derrinstown Stud, Shadwell Farm, Shadwell Estate, Gulf News and Al Tayer Motors have been sponsoring since the inception of the Carnival and we are delighted that they continue their partnership.

“We also are thrilled that Commercial Bank of Dubai, DUBAL and Etisalat are about to embark on their fourth Dubai International Racing Carnival with us, and welcome GPD Investments for the first time.

“Without their support, the Dubai International Racing Carnival would not be possible and we wish all our partners a hugely enjoyable and successful Carnival.”