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Camel Racing

The somehow exotic tradition of camel races is as old as the history of breeding camels itself. Camels are used as a means of transportation and they are valuable in desert countries for their meat, milk, and hides. The races besides of competition entertainment are to select the best of their breed.

The racing camel is smaller however than the average one and the winners can costs a small fortune to acquire. Currently, there are approximately 14,000 active racing camels in the UAE, most of them owned by Sheikhs, including former President Zayed’s personal stable consisting of 14,000 camels ( racing and non-racing) and Sheikh  Mohammed, the former Defense Minister of the UAE, with 2,000 camels and a reputation of high scores in the races.

The racing season in Dubai lasts from November till early April and the races are held on two racecourses adjacent to horse courses : Nad Al Sheba and Jebel Ali.

Thursday and Friday are two traditional days of the week for races, but during the high season the competitions may be held everyday.

The morning races consist primarily of camels owned by Sheikhs, whereas the afternoon races are open to all. The owners of afternoon winners can expect an interest from Sheiks known to buy the best camels.