01/11/2010 12:00AM

Dubai adds twist to rider challenge


The Dubai Racing Club will tweak the usual format for a new international jockeys challenge at the new Meydan Racecourse on March 5. The Meydan Masters that night will feature the winning riders of 11 of the world's most prestigious races from the previous year, with an additional invitation to go to another world-class rider to bring the total to an even dozen.

The event, to be held the night after Dubai World Cup Preview Night, will be consist of four support races on a card that will feature the recently upgraded Group 2 Zabeel Mile on turf. The riders to whom invitations will be sent are Aaron Gryder (Dubai World Cup), Ahmed Ajtebi (Dubai Sheema Classic), Calvin Borel (Kentucky Derby), Norihiro Yokoyama (Japanese Derby), Ryan Moore (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes), Johnny Murtagh (Irish Derby), Corey Brown (Melbourne Cup), Mike Smith (Breeders' Cup Classic) and Olivier Peslier (Hong Kong Cup).

The winning riders of the Epsom Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe are also intended to be part of the program, but as Michael Kinane, who rode Sea the Stars to win both those races, has retired, invitations will be made to French Derby winner Christophe Lemaire and St. Leger Stakes winner Ted Durcan. The 12th rider has not yet been decided, but it is a safe bet the invitation will be made to Frankie Dettori, who spends every winter riding in Dubai.