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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working on a publication by our Moodie Corporate division marking the 30th anniversary of Dubai Duty Free , writes Rahul Odedra.
For a newcomer to the industry such as me, it has been both fascinating and educational looking back at three remarkable decades for the company, and one of the areas I’ve been concentrating on is Dubai Duty Free’s relationship with sport.
Reviewing the archives, a story emerges of strong partnerships, incredible sporting moments and great personalities, all coming together to promote not just the retailer, but also Dubai as a destination.
It was therefore a pleasure to be a guest of the company at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday at the Dubai Duty Free International Weekend and to see that sporting heritage up close.
[Salah Tahlak, Colm McLoughlin and Sinead El Sibai present a prize to jockey Robert Havlin, wearing the colours of H.R.H. Princess Haya of Jordan]
The meeting effectively marks the end of the racing year in the UK and Ireland for the retailer, following previous key racedays at Newbury, Ascot and, of course, The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh, Ireland.
Newbury is of particular significance, as it was here that Dubai Duty Free’s involvement in the British racing scene began, with sponsorship of the Fred Darling Stakes (in April) since 1996.
Sportsguide has worked with Dubai Duty Free since then on its UK portfolio and anyone fortunate enough to have been a raceday guest over the years will undoubtedly have bumped into founder Laurie Brannan or his son, Philip.
On Saturday, a day on which Dubai Duty Free confirmed it would extend its relationship with Newbury for another three years, Sportsguide helped to kick off celebrations for the 30th anniversary by presenting Executive Vice Chairman Colm McLoughlin with a cake.
As ever, a number of senior figures from Dubai Duty Free were at the event, with Senior Vice President – Corporate Communications Salah Tahlak and Vice President – Marketing Sinead El Sibai and Vice President of Purchasing Saba Tahir joining Colm McLoughlin.
Beyond the fine hospitality, the day saw plenty of exciting racing, with the strong association with Dubai continuing into the Winners’ Enclosure. Camborne, owned by H.R.H. Princess Haya of Jordan – wife of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – won The Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup.
Meanwhile, the winner in The Dubai Duty Free Nursery Handicap Stakes was Bow Creek, owned by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.
Dubai Duty Free itself has had that winning feeling for almost three decades now. Read all about it next month in ‘Dubai Duty Free – The First 30 years’.