Dubai Duty Free shapes new venture on the hoof

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Photoshoot

Is it a horse? A camel? A Dubai Duty Free-sponsored hybrid?

No it’s the world’s first-ever ‘human racehorse’,  conceived to celebrate the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition, today’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot Racecourse near London.

The giant horse (pictured ‘ridden’ by German jockey Steffi Hofer passing the Ascot winning post) is composed of ten acrobats (see how many you can spot. I’m still trying to figure out which is Colm McLoughlin and which is George Horan).

It took seven hours to create the figure, including five hours for hair and make-up (about the same time it takes me), ultimately creating a six-feet (unlike most horses who only have four) high equine look-alike.

Ascot Racecourse enlisted a team of talented contortionists courtesy of Scarlett Entertainment, and used make-up artists, Civilised Mess, to transform the human bodies using detailed animal artwork. Civilised Mess has previously created designs for Cirque Le Soir and Slamboree.

Now in its 14th year, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup sees four teams (Great Britain & Ireland, Europe, the Rest of the World and The Girls) of top international jockeys seeking victory by collectively acquiring the most number of points for their team across the six-race card.

Footnote: To stirrup some further interest in this Blog and after a quick Gallop Poll, I’ve decided to add my five favourite Dubai Duty Free-related horse jokes of all time, none of them, I promise, created on the hoof. Here we go:

1) A poorly-looking horse recovering from a heavy night out with Peter Sant and the  Rémy Cointreau travel retail team and the Dubai Duty Free management limps into a bar with a bandage round his head. He orders  a flute of beautifully chilled Piper Heidsieck Champagne, a large balloon glass of Rémy Martin XO and, incredibly, a pint of Cointreau.

He downs  the lot and says to the barman: “I shouldn’t really be drinking this with what  I’ve got?”

“Why, what have you got?”

“About $2 and a carrot!”

2)  Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman Colm McLoughlin buys a crocked old racehorse and takes it to the vet.

“Will I be able to race this horse  again?” Colm asks.

The vet replies: “Of course, and you’ll probably win.”

3)  A White Horse walks into a pub at Dubai International Airport and asks for a whisky.

The barman says: “Hey,  did you know that Dubai Duty Free sell a whisky named after you.”

The horse replies: “What, Eric?”

4) A Dubai Duty Free executive on an Emirates plane back from the Cannes show wakes up and sees a horse sitting next to him, watching the inflight movie.

“Are you really a horse?” asks the retailer, clearly shocked.


“Then what are you doing watching an inflight movie?”

The horse replies, “Well, I liked the book.”

5)  Dubai Duty Free President George Horan loses his favourite Montblanc briefcase while doing a store check at Dubai International Airport.

Three weeks later, a horse walks up to him in Concourse A carrying the briefcase in its mouth.

George can’t believe his eyes.

He takes the briefcase out of the horse’s mouth, raises his eyes heavenwards and exclaims, “It’s a miracle!”

“Not really George,” says the horse. “Your initials are engraved on the briefcase.”

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