International

Back

European contingent due to be shipped out of Dubai after World Cup cancellation

The European contingent stranded in Dubai following Sunday's cancellation of Dubai World Cup night at Meydan are now being shipped out.

Among the horses waiting to return include the Roger Varian-trained Defoe, who has been based in Dubai since February and was due to run in the Dubai Sheema Classic on Saturday.

The European team are leaving a day before a two-week ban on flying is introduced by Emirates Airlines, which was also announced on Sunday.

Most of the visitors arrived in Dubai on Friday after a morning flight from Stansted, a team that included Prince Of Arran, Lord North, Mustashry and the French-trained Call The Wind.

Varian said: "Defoe and the others are due back tomorrow. It's a shame the meeting was cancelled but everything is a shame at the moment. We respect the decision that has been made and we'll get the horse back here and regroup."

The shipping to and from Dubai is regularly handled by Janah Transport, which is part of the Godolphin operation. 

Manager Henry Bullen said: "The plan is to fly the European horses and staff out of Dubai and back to the UK on Tuesday. It's been a huge team effort in a situation that is changing by the minute and everyone wants their horses and staff back home safely."

Janah ship over 5,000 horses a year around the world from their base in Newmarket, and Bullen added: "Obviously it's exceptional circumstances at the moment and one that hopefully we won't see gain in our lifetime. The plan is to get them out before the proposed ban comes in on Wednesday."

James Doyle, William Buick and Oisin Murphy were among the jockeys who arrived back in Britain on Monday morning.

Doyle said: "It was a little bit messy but we're all back now. William Buick, Jamie Spencer, Oisin Murphy and Dane O'Neill were also on the flight. 

"It was a bit of a rush as they are suspending flights on Wednesday and most of them were full leaving Dubai. I was only in the UAE for two days, so it's been a bit hectic to say the least, but at least everyone is safe." 

Prince Of Arran, picture Quentinjlang.com

Share/Bookmark