Camel Racing

Discovering More .... Dubai

 

Camel Racing

Camel racing is a popular sport in the UAE and well worth seeing if you are in the region during the season.  Top racing camels can change hands of hundreds of thousands of dirhams. Race winners do received a cash prize but the main reward is the kudos associated with winning and as with race horses there the value of the camel increases as it wins more races.   Racing camels peak at about 3 - 4 years old, but they will race until they are about 15 years old. They are well looked after and fed a diet very different from the scrub they might find in the desert – honey, glee, barley, alfalfa, barley, eggs and dates. As with horses, the camel’s pedigree is very important. .

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Racing Camels

Camels are trained and usually enter their first race at about two years old. In the past, small boys were used as jockeys, but these have now been replaced by little robots. These are tied onto the camel and have a small whip that is radio controlled.

Camel with robot rider

Races are action packed, and fast paced – the next race sets off as soon as the last race finishes there is no waiting around between races.  Along side the running track, is a dirt track that is a chaotic mass of 4X4s following the camels around – these contain the person using the radio control device for the robot on his camel. They are also packed with fans yelling and screaming at the camels whilst the horns blare out.  It is surprising that there are not more car accidents as they all seem to be looking at the camels rather than the car in front.

 

4 x 4 vehicles following the race

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The racing season runs across the winter from about October to March. The main race track for Dubai is off the Dubai – Al Ain Road next door to the Sevens Rugby Stadium. To find out when there is racing check the event calendar on the Dubai Camel Racing Club website www.dcrc.ae. The site is in Arabic, but the search engine will provide a translation. They have some afternoon races as well as the early morning ones. You just turn up and find a seat – the events are free and you can take a picnic – no alcohol though. There is also no betting.

There are a couple of festivals to look out for – Al Marmoun – which is usually at the end of Oct/early Nov and the Dubai Camel Racing Festival which usually the last fortnight in February. Races usually start at 7am, or 2pm to avoid the heat of the day and entry is free.

 

 

 

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