Horse Racing: SAY HELLO, SAY DUBAI; THE LEGENDARY CHAMPION JOCKEY WRITES EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE MIRROR Why Sheikh Mohammed Is Winning the World Cup Argument
Byline: RICHARD DUNWOODY
THERE will always be those opposed to change, especially in our ever-shrinking racing world. Sheikh Mohammed has never failed to draw comment - both good and bad.
Some trainers and owners don't like being beaten by his maroon and white colours, or the royal blue of Godolphin, at some far-flung meeting north of the Trent.
Some studmasters may be narked that his push for dominance in the stallion market means breeders are getting tremendous value and service for using Darley stallions.
Yet International racing, especially British racing, would be so much the poorer without the Maktoum family's influence.
They are massive employers within the industry and generous to the extreme in terms of sponsorship and charity gifts. That's not to mention the revenue they provide for newspapers and magazines through advertising, or their legendary buying sprees at the yearling sales that force up gross sales and averages.
This all has a trickle-down effect. For instance, you can bet that Martin Pipe is grateful that the likes of owner David Johnson decided he couldn't compete with Sheikh Mohammed on the Flat and so chose to concentrate on the jumping game.
Being a 'visionary' must fortunately have hardened Dubai's ruler to criticism.
He knows you can't please all of the people all of the time.
He had a dream for Dubai, yet it Sheikh Mohammed's energy in accomplishing that dream that we should applaud.
Out of an Emirate of sand and flies, he has helped build a wonderfully vibrant city.
Own up, how many people rolled their eyes at the news of the opening of Nad Al Sheba, a magnificent racetrack and training complex born of the desert?
The birth of the Dubai World Cup in 1996 stunned racing enthusiasts - such effrontery to outstrip even the Breeders' Cup in providing not only the most valuable race in the world, but now the most valuable day's racing of the year!
It is watched on TV by millions around the world and they see some of the world's greatest racehorses.
The pounds 11million Dubai World Cup card, which takes place next Saturday, attracted a record 1,340 nominations from 23 countries. …