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Category: Dubai

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Chris Eubank leads tributes after son Sebastian dies in Dubai

Sebastian Eubank, also a boxer, found dead days before his 30th birthdayFormer middleweight champion Chris Eubank has led tributes to his son Sebastian Eubank, who has been found dead in Dubai days before his 30th birthday.In a statement, Chris Eubank …

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Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, owner of Dayjur and Nashwan, dies aged 75

Death announced on Twitter by brother Sheikh MohammedSignificant figure in British racing and owner of Shadwell Stud Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, one of the most significant owners in British horse racing who had a string of Classic and Royal Ascot winner…

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‘We were in coronavirus lockdown’: my life in quarantine at the UAE Tour

Cycling journalist Sophie Smith describes the experience of being held in quarantine in an Abu Dhabi hotelWhen we arrived in Dubai a week ago to cover the UAE Tour there was a heightened awareness of coronavirus; the airports looked a little emptier an…

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‘We were in coronavirus lockdown’: my life in quarantine at the UAE Tour

Cycling journalist Sophie Smith describes the experience of being held in quarantine in an Abu Dhabi hotelWhen we arrived in Dubai a week ago to cover the UAE Tour there was a heightened awareness of coronavirus; the airports looked a little emptier an…

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I was tortured in Dubai prison, claims former Leeds United chief David Haigh

• Former Leeds managing director was detained for 23 months
• Haigh claims he was tasered, hit in the head and threatened

The former Leeds United managing director David Haigh has claimed he was repeatedly tortured and abused while in prison accused of fraud in Dubai.

Haigh, released from 23 months of detention last month, said he had experienced five “serious episodes” of physical abuse, and witnessed the torture of other inmates. The authorities in Dubai have yet to comment on his allegations.

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Former Leeds managing director to face trial in Dubai over slander charges

• David Haigh to face trial on 16 March in United Arab Emirates
• Haigh faces slander charges over tweet about former club

The former managing director of Leeds United is to face trial on 16 March regarding criminal charges in the United Arab Emirates over a tweet about the former owner of the club.

David Haigh has been in custody since May 2014 and was due to be released on 16 November last year after a Dubai court convicted him of fraud.

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Schoolboy breaks 30 second skipping world record – video

Video from Promotime video shows Cen Xialoin, a 11-year-old Chinese schoolboy, breaks the world skipping record for the greatest number of skips in 30 seconds at the World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championships in Dubai. Cen manages a rapid 110 skips in the allotted time. He also beat the world record for greatest number of skips in three minutes with 548 skips

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‘Jetmen’ Yves Rossy and Vince Reffet fly over Dubai’s Palm Island – video

Former Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, known as ‘Jetman,’ reportedly the first man in the world to fly a jet-fitted wing, and his new protege Vince Reffet fly over Dubai’s Palm Island, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday. Rossy and Reffet perform tricks and stunt…

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Sport picture of the day: camel racing with robot jockeys in Dubai

They’re not very small people but robotic jockeys on the back of the camels at the Al Marmoom Heritage Festival. If the use of robotic jockeys moves across to horse racing then we’ll no longer see spectacular falls such as that of Lewis Ferguson, who thankfully escaped unhurt as did his mount Merrion Square

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How prospective Leeds buyer ended up in Dubai prison over fraud allegations

David Haigh thought he was about to take over a great football club but after a remarkable turn of events he is now languishing in a crowded police cell

Among the myriad scandals that have engulfed Leeds United since the club’s financial collapse in the early 2000s, the current plight of the former managing director David Haigh, who has been held in a Dubai prison cell for eight months, accused but still not charged with a £3m fraud, is perhaps the most toxic.

Haigh, an English solicitor, was the most prominent executive in the 2012 takeover of Leeds from Ken Bates by Gulf Finance House, an investment bank in Bahrain. He eventually moved to Leeds from Dubai to run the Championship club. A year later he left GFH and tried to buy Leeds himself, with the businessman Andrew Flowers, before GFH sold a 75% stake to Massimo Cellino, the Italian businessman now banned as a director having been convicted of tax fraud in Italy.

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How prospective Leeds buyer ended up in Dubai prison over fraud allegations

David Haigh thought he was about to take over a great football club but after a remarkable turn of events he is now languishing in a crowded police cell

Among the myriad scandals that have engulfed Leeds United since the club’s financial collapse in the early 2000s, the current plight of the former managing director David Haigh, who has been held in a Dubai prison cell for eight months, accused but still not charged with a £3m fraud, is perhaps the most toxic.

Haigh, an English solicitor, was the most prominent executive in the 2012 takeover of Leeds from Ken Bates by Gulf Finance House, an investment bank in Bahrain. He eventually moved to Leeds from Dubai to run the Championship club. A year later he left GFH and tried to buy Leeds himself, with the businessman Andrew Flowers, before GFH sold a 75% stake to Massimo Cellino, the Italian businessman now banned as a director having been convicted of tax fraud in Italy.

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Endurance and thoroughbred racing have close links in Dubai

Horses from the different disciplines can be stabled in the same complex

Endurance racing, in which horses compete in at distances up to 100 miles, is believed to be the fastest-growing equine discipline in terms of participation among those governed by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), but in most countries where the sport is popular, there is little crossover in terms of personnel, facilities and venues between endurance and thoroughbred racing.

Dubai is an exception. In the emirate, it is far from unusual for endurance horses and thoroughbreds to be stabled in the same complex, while trainers can also shift between the two disciplines.

Ismail Mohammed, who saddled Educate to win the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket last weekend, was an endurance trainer prior to taking out a licence to train thoroughbreds. Like Mubarak bin Shafya, who now trains thoroughbreds at the Al Aasfa complex, which is owned by Sheikh Mohammed, his time in endurance racing was both successful and controversial.

In 2006, the FEI stripped Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed al Maktoum, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s sons, of his third-place finish in the 2005 European Endurance Championship after his horse, Orkara, tested positive for guanabenz. The drug can be used to reduce a horse’s heart-rate, which can be a significant advantage in endurance as horses cannot continue from regular stops for veterinary inspection until their heart-rate falls below 64bpm.

At the time, FEI regulations held a horse’s rider to be responsible for any substance found in its bloodstream, but since Sheikh Majid was only 17, it was Ismail Mohammed, who trained Orkara at the Al Aasfa stables, who faced disciplinary action. He was banned from involvement in international endurance events for a year, and fined about £2,000.

Ismail Mohammed switched to training thoroughbreds, then back to endurance horses and eventually returned to thoroughbreds between 2006 and 2009, and was the top trainer at Dubai’s Carnival meeting in 2007 with 16 winners, including five on a single card. He started to train in Newmarket in 2012, and this season he has saddled a total of 19 winners from 73 runners, a strike rate of 26%.

Mubarak bin Shafya, who was banned from endurance racing for two years in 2011 after several of his horses tested positive for stanozolol, continued to train thoroughbreds from Al Aasfa stables in Dubai, where endurance horses are also stabled, through his suspension.

Sheikh Mohammed himself has been competing in endurance events for the last 20 years. Pure-bred Arabian horses, which are well known for their stamina, are well suited to endurance racing and its extreme distances, and in addition to a number of individual victories, the Sheikh also led the UAE team to the gold medal in the World Endurance Championship in Arkansas in 1996. Several of his sons have also competed at a high level in the sport.

However, Sheikh Mohammed, too, has been banned from endurance competition as the result of a failed drug test on one of his horses. In 2009, Tahhan, a horse he had ridden in endurance events in both Bahrain and Dubai, was found to be positive for both guanabenz and stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. The Sheikh was banned from competition for six months, while Abdullah bin Huzaim, the horse’s trainer, was banned for a year.

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