Monday, 28 March 2011

Get on one's hobby horse

The ‘most exciting 2 minutes in sports’ in the American calendar is the Kentucky Derby, in the UK the Epsom Derby though it is the Royal Ascot Races which is more popular as the Queen attends it every year. In UAE we have the Dubai World Cup, a thrilling by-invitation only horse racing championship held at the Meydan race course. The brainchild of the Ruler of Dubai Shaikh Mohammad, the Dubai World Cup is in its sixteenth year now and remains a fitting tribute to his love of horses and horse-racing.

The Dubai World Cup 2011 had been grabbing all the attention the whole of last week with even the world cup cricket news coming a poor second in the sports pages. A fantastic 8 hour extravaganza last saturday had all the glitz of a bollywood movie……it had action, derama, emotions and masala, lots of masala and it culminated into a exciting finish with Japans Victoire Pisa galloping first past the finish line to take home a prize money of US $6 million of the total prize of US $10 million. The winning jockey was brilliant on the horse inspiring the animal from a bad start[the horse had hit its head on the starting gate just minutes before the race] to the forefront.
Victoire Pisa riden by jockey Mirco Demuro
And how does Nancy know all this???? She reads the papers ofcourse, keeps eyes and ears open AND………she was KEY witness to the whole event. The better-half & she went for the Races on saturday and she just can’t stop crowing about it. Upto 2 weeks back, what she knew about horses could be written on a single piece of paper which is Black Beauty, colt, big, filly, pony-tail, bill from Malory towers, horse-shoe, the highwayman, trot, gallop….well ok make it ¼ sheet of paper. But now you better treat her with a little more respect. She can give you history, statistics & tips on which horses to place your bet on. Why, even yesterday except for Kinsale King almost all the horses she predicted as winners…..ummm lost miserably;-D….but that doesn’t mean anything, even the most seasoned horse enthusiasts sometimes get them wrong you know.

[Getting tired of referring to herself in the 3rd person she gently touches ground]

I gave the 1st two races my all but after that my attention started wandering. The thing is, there is around an hour's gap between each race and how long could one be glued to the guidebook they provided. Shifting focus, I started clicking all the women who were dressed so elegantly with the traditional head gear associated with these do’s. Here have a look…..

Very few children were seen about & the only one I spied was busy playing some gadget.

I watched men smoothen down the turf and remove all obstacles inbetween races. After they finished their job they got into the back of that pickup & were driven away

There was a march-past in prelude to the stage show going to be conducted. A novelty for many of us as this was the 1st time I was seeing all-arab member march-past;-D

And how can I forget to mention……..the food was delicious. It was not the typical fare, more like hors d'oeuvres, tiny pies in ramekins and itty-bitty sandwiches. The desserts were sublime….baby cupcakes bursting with flavours, divine cheesecakes, tiny tarts & assorted cakes. I’m actually kicking myself for not taking any pictures here. The drinks were flowing freely and it reflected in the upbeat mood which prevailed. I have to tell you this funny thing which amused us to no end….there was this Malayalee waiter who was hovering around us from the time we sat at the dining table till the end. At first we felt a bit weird & then it dawned on me…..he knew we were malayalees & tried to look very busy serving us so that he was not needed to serve at the other tables where most of the diners were westerners. Why… guess is that he was not very confident or maybe he didn’t quite grasp their accent. So while every other diner was trying hard to catch the eye of the busy waiters we just had to look up & this sweet guy would come hurrying;-D

Towards the later part of the evening there was a beautiful stageshow in the form of a float with the history of UAE and their connection with horses interweaved.

There were also contests held for the best dressed woman, best hat, best couple and goodness knows what else with some fabulous prizes. If interested, you can view them all here.

And amazing fireworks, though I got the feeling it was a bit toned down this year. For the first time I wished I had a DSLR to capture the fantastic effects.

An evening well-spent, I went to sleep that night with a beautific smile on my face:-).


  1. Yay! Totally Nancy-like post and sooo gr8 to hv u bk :)
    All that food and no pics - ye baat kuch hajab nahi hui :(
    Those women look gorgeous :P :P
    What did the girls hv to say abt/ ask abt all of it when u reached home ;)
    Next post coming on it?

  2. Ok, my dear expert on horse racing, plz tell me which one to bet on, the next time the Derby happens....mind you, I want to make some money... ;)

    I just loved the lady in blue dress...very nice. :) :)

    Where did you leave the girls, woman ????

    Am smiling to know abt that beautific smile on ur face. :) :)

  3. Swaram & UmaS:
    Nancy bows respectfully acknowledging the 2 superior beings of the blog-world
    The girls were spending the day with their friends. They didnt really care as we had gone for the qualifiers the previous week and they didnt find anything of their interest there. Thank goodness for that;-D.

  4. Horses and i can just say black beauty, highwayman and riding riding riding.. ok thats again from highwayman. You can fill some bit of a page which is amazing!
    and is the headgear a do? That was a learning for me :)
    and good to hear that horses can be such fun :) hehehe amazing post

  5. I would have no way read a post on dubai world cup or horse-racing, but for you... you just make even the boring ones interesting... I wish you taught me geography ;D ha ha...

    ps. u click all the ladies in the crowd but for you... hmph... not fair... not even a teeny bit fair... :P i wana see that beautific smile ;D

  6. Horse races can be fun :)
    The toughest and say the most expensive part being dressing up for them. I am a huge fan of fascinators and you've wonderfully captured some of the real gorgeous dresses and ladies :)
    You made me miss the Melbourne cup :D
    You sure had a fabulous time and I love knowing Dubai through your lens and words :)
    Welcome back to regular blogging :D :D

  7. Wow. This is a side of N we never knew. A racing afficiondo ?? Welcome to the sport of kings. Much envious that you actually went to the Dubai World Cup. A great race and is truly a World Cup as it brings the best of America and Europe together usually. Not surprising since Sheikh Mohammed owns half the horses anyway. Perhaps very apt that a Japanese hose won for the first time this year.

    Hope you won some money :):)

  8. wow what an experience! :) lucky you! all we ve seen are in pictures/movies!! :( mustve been real interesting and absorbing, and very english?!

  9. loved to see the well dresses elegant women:)

  10. came to take a peek and look what i got! 2 posts! engaging post. arab horses are the best in the world and it is a fitting place for such a show. cool that you went to see it. can't believe people still dress like that! very festive. good to have ya back nance.

  11. ha ha ha....Swaru, did u read that ???? 2 superior beings of the blogo-world.... ;) ;)

    Nancy, but be sure to make this superior being a little richer being, by next derby, ok ??? ;)

  12. Amrita: Heee same here but I learnt fast;-D
    Yeah the hats are almost like traditional tho nowadays hats are replaced by hair pieces.
    And thank U:-))!!!!!

    Sulo: Hehehe geography was one of my favourite subjects.
    Honestly I rarely take pictures of myself or let others take them, dunno why but I yam like thaat vonly;-D.

    DialoguewithU: Oh yes the dressing up is the toughest. The tabloids had interviews with women who detailed their search for the perfect dress, shoes & hat...each took a huge column in the paper to explain;-D.
    And thank U:-)!!!!!

    Ramesh: Actually betting is considered illegal here tho they do have 2 above-aboard selections wherein we dont pay up or anything but if we make the right choices of horses we stand to win a solid amount. But I've hrd there's lot of betting happening under the table;-D.
    Nope didnt win anything;-(!!!!

    Vaidegi J: Yeah I know what u mean....really it was just like in the english movies & I for one enjoyed it thoroughly;-D

    Renu: So do I;-D!!!!! Being a muslim country they had warnings in the guidebook asking all women to dress modestly....but I doubt any of them really read thru the book;-D

    Lan: It was like a carnival and drinks made them all loosen up....not like shady or anything but fun;-D. Pity we were observing lent;-(!!!!!

    UmaS: U bet, by next world cup I'll be prof. and u'll be paying me for the tips;-D

  13. thats a pity... i better hear ur tinkle tinkle again, cos if I ever bump into u in bangalore I need to know if its you... :P

  14. Excellent post!!!!!!! You are indeed BACK.

    I just absolutely loved the facts...but best of all the pics of the hats and head gear.

    Had to smile at the waiter hoovering over your table.

  15. Hi N,

    So you are back to your blogging ways again ... Mabrook!!

    Interesting piece on the Dubai Derby ... nice pics too!

    Thanks for visiting my blog - I had visited the Bird place even before I wrote Part - 1; just kept the report for a later date .. now its up too.

    I still have not got a hang of replying to a comment on my page - it couldn't come to you, right?

    Cheers, J

  16. Sulo: There's a solution for that...u just send me ur pic & I'll be able to recognise u anywhere;-D

    Anjuli: Thank U:-))!!!!

    J: LOL no it wdn't;-D!!!! And shukran;-D!!!!

  17. a hopeful bumper :P3 April 2011 at 12:10

    How very notoriously smart!!! Atleast for this sake, I want to bump into you :P :o

    Btw, you can see my picture in FB...

    Sheesh, no wait, what am I saying - you can actly see my whole clan of frens n kins :D ha ha

    p.s. I guess I will just wait around for your darshan ;D he hee`

  18. Great post. Informative for a gavaar like me ;)

    Horses always take me back to Bill and her 7 brothers !!!!

  19. Hi, Good to have you back !!! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASEEEEEEEE KEEP POSTING.... :)

  20. Hi Nancy,

    Nice to see you back :)
    You pics look nice

  21. helloooooo.... when r u postin again?! :P :D

    am waiting...

  22. n guess what heard ur tinkle tinkle today :P u really sing well you know... i think u wd be one awesome big sistah ;)

  23. Hopeful bumper: I have no clue wht to do in FB and so go there very rarely, but now i have a reason.....will definitely chk it out ;-D

    Lostworld: Thank U!!!! Yeah it does the same for me and the highwayman ofcourse;-P

    Souls Speaks: Good to see u too;-D!!!

    Tan: Thank U:-))!!!!!

    Sulo: Soon, soon!!!
    And there's no doubt abt tht...I AM 1 big awesome sistaaah;-D

  24. you know who :)10 April 2011 at 15:04

    chech... u do know that i am the hopeful bumper, rt? :p cos u addressed me twice in ur reply :P

    ps. i dono why, i dont feel lik sticking to one name in here... am sure u can track me in whichever name i write? **hugs**

  25. My dear Sulo, u r so sulo...err I mean silly[hehe cdnt resist tht;-D] ofcourse i knew it was U but since both comments were on different subjects i thot it makes better sense to put them separately, got ittttt???
    Like u said I know u whichever name u go by;-D

  26. ur ardent spammer :P10 April 2011 at 19:55

    chech, you cant flaunt about ur discovery as yet - cos i make it obvious :P who else can blabber in here as much as I do, rt? It makes ur job easier :D

    PS. Today is Sunday = comment like crazy :P

    PPS. I better stop b4 other comment subscribers kill me ;D

  27. LOL! Appreciate the effort that the researcher in you put in to come up with all the trivia about the Dubai World Cup! :P

    Great to read something here again! :)

  28. Woah!!! Didn't know you were alive :P and here you are enjoying horse races and all. Cool!

    How much did you bet btw? and how much did you loose? :)

    Btw, why don't we have your pic in a hat and all, that'll be fun.... oops I mean nice to watch :P

  29. Sulo: Hehe u said it all;-D

    Blunt Edges: Thank U;-D!!!!

    Rakesh: Betting is illegal didnt u knw;-o....but yeah there were 2 pick & choose kind of bets which had a fixed amount as prize...and nope didnt win anything;-(.

  30. Yippeee you are back... but then it is already 2 weeks you know... (uh! who's talking)

  31. Hehe Colours u said it, not me;-D!!!


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