It was first run in 1996 on dirt, with a distance of 2,000 metres (1 mile 2 furlongs). It was transferred to turf, and its present distance, in 2000. The race attained Group 1 status in 2002. The name of the race is taken from its sponsors, Dubai Duty Free. Between 1996 and 2009 it was run at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.