A day for the camels – The Dubai Camel Race – it is something very much unique and special about the Dubai Dunes. Camel lovers and owners from various parts of the Emirates call it their day. Camels from even very far-off places are transported to the Race Course Area on Dubai-Al Ain Road.
The first thing that catches your eyes as you enter, are the multi-color sheets adorning the hundreds of camels that are preparing for the race. They were either lying on the ground or taking short walks around to warm themselves up, all ready to race. The caretakers and helpers, tidy them, cover them up appropriately and mount up the robotic jockeys on top of them.
And before even you get really get soaked up in this beauty, more of them start to rally up to the place, from a long walkway covered in mist. It was majestic to walk this animal herd, with their rider on top, walking in a particular rhythm and movement.
Every camel herd with 3 or more camels tied together to a Head Camel are led by a Camel Trainer or Caretaker. The Race Course also showcased some rare scenes of bonding between the camels and its caretakers. What could have been more heartwarming than watching a camel in silent conversation with its human friend, on a misty morning!
But story is different on the racing track. All the participating camels get lined up behind a screen that marks the kick-off point. It is very obvious that all camels are impatient to hit the track. And as the lever push up the screen, they sprint and run, led by the robotic jockeys. A convoy of vehicles and vans with cameras follow the racing camels on a parallel road, along their five-kilometer course. And the one camel that hit the finishing line first, wins amazing prizes worth their training.
Races of animals that are endemic to the region is a popular and one of the ancient sports in almost every country round the globe. Be it the jallikkettu of TamilNadu or the kangaroo-race of Australia or the elephant-race of Kerala or the horse-races, the animals are being brought up and trained in such a pious and pristine environment. Camels in the Arabia too are well revered and cared, which is very much obvious in the way they are being treated and prompted for the race. The ‘robotic jockeys’ being used to guide the camels through the race is a distinctive thing for the other types of animal-racers to look at and simulate. The robotic jockeys are light-weight remote-controlled device designed in a way that doesn’t frighten the camels, including more human-like features.
Further, the track is weathered with water in every possible hour to set the ground, thus creating an ideal race track. Yes, the world has something to learn from the Dubai Camel Race!
Dubai Camel Racing is one of the most popular event and is often recommended by many trip sites as a must see when one is in Dubai. General Entry is free. The event is taking place on December 23rd and 24th, at 7am and 2pm respectively. The Marmoom Racing Club is adjacent to the Sevens Stadium on the Dubai-Al Ain Road and is very easily accessible, as sign boards will start to greet you from much before.