The prestigious Dubai World Cup meeting is the latest major event to be cancelled over the coronavirus pandemic.
The race meeting, with prize money of $35 million and featuring the $12 million Dubai World Cup, had been scheduled to go ahead behind closed doors with appropriate protocols in place.
But organisers have now abandoned those plans.
“To safeguard the health of all participants, the higher organising committee of the Dubai World Cup 2020 has decided to postpone the 25th edition of the global tournament to next year,” a statement from the government of Dubai’s media office said.
Sheikh Mohammed’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor, has won the World Cup nine times for Godolphin.
He was set to saddle the favourite Benbatl on Saturday (Sunday (AEDT),.
The much-travelled Benbatl won the 2018 Caulfield Stakes and ran second to Winx in that year’s Cox Plate.
“This is happening all over the world, including England, and I think it is in the best interests of keeping everybody very healthy,” he told the Press Association.
“The health of everybody has to be the number one priority now, for everybody.
“We have to put this into perspective. What is happening around the world is shocking, and the government has made the right decision to look after people.
“For our sport,that is so important as we need our horses to run – that means everything for us – but at the same time we have a responsibility to look after our people.”
Bin Suroor divides his time between Dubai and England, but is not thinking of his own return yet, he is more concerned about the whereabouts of his horses.
“Travel has not been banned as yet, but I still have horses here so until I know what is happening with them I won’t be going back to Newmarket,” he said.