Dubious about Dubai but not Dubawi

From the 22nd of January to the 7th of February, Dubawi had six runners on the all-weather. All six won. The six victories earned the lucky owners £15,811, an average of £2,635 or $4,130 per victory. These are the amounts before deductions for the winning trainers, jockeys and stable staff and before entry fees,riding fees and travel costs are taken into account. If the owners netted £1,400 ($2,192) per victory they would be doing well.

Meanwhile in Dubai, Dubawi’s owner Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the Meydan track. Press reviews were very positive. Estimates of its construction cost ranged from $1.25 billion to $2.4 billion. It has a 1km long grandstand and seating for 60,000.  It will do well to even cover its running costs as general admission is free (but there is a charge for the grandstand). Gambling is prohibited so there is no revenue from that quarter.  It is intended as a visitor attraction and showcase for Dubai which is another way of saying that no one was ever asked to justify the cost. Meydan replaces the Nad Al Sheba track (which had world class facilities) and to me this development represents the most obscene folly and waste of resources imaginable.

 It may not be considered appropriate to criticise the man who has invested more than anyone else in the racing industry for the past three decades but this was utter madness.  In order to pay for his monument to folly Sheikh Mohammed will have to win one million races on the all-weather. Is there a better indicator of the wasteful excesses of the middle-eastern rulers and the pitiful prize-money in the UK, than this fact?

None of Duabwi’s 5 individual winners (Duellist, Monterosso, Your Lad, Ostentation and Solstice) are likely to become celebrated names in the history of the turf. However signs are promising for Dubawi to become a significant new stallion from what looks like becoming an exceptional crop of stallions foaled in 2002 (others included Shamardal, Oratario, Footstepsinthesand and  Motivator). In addition he looks like he will overtake Nayef, Medicean and Zamindar as being the best Mr Prospector line stallion (with runners to date) standing in Europe.

Dubawi’s Racecourse Career

Dubawi was the first of Dubai Millennium’s offspring to appear on the racetrack and no doubt it was very pleasing to Sheikh Mohammed to see him make a winning debut at Goodwood in June. He followed up in the Group 3 Superlative stakes at Newmarket and concluded his unbeaten two year old season with a victory in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh. His victories had been achieved on ground that varied from good to firm to yielding at the Curragh. He went into winter quarters as a leading classic prospect and indeed such was their regard for Dubawi, Godophin went and purchased Berenson who was runner-up in the National Stakes.  Berenson became another victim of the ‘big blue hole’ that is Godolphin and was never seen on the racecourse again.

Dubawi wintered in Dubai and such was his work and performance in some of Godolphins private trials that he started favourite for the 2000 Guineas. He finished fifth behind Footstepsinthesand but was beaten only three lengths. His defeat was blamed on the good to firm ground. He resumed winning ways and achieved an impressive classic success in the Irish Guineas on good ground, defeating Oratario by two lengths. He was then sent to Epsom where he ran creditably to be third behind Motivator, but it was obvious that 12 furlongs was farther than optimal. Given a break until August he reappeared in the Jacques le Marois and he put up his best ever performance in defeating Whipper, Valixir and the previously undefeated Divine Proportions. Dubawi was next seen in the QEII at Ascot and he was made favourite and expected to wrap-up the title of European champion miler. Instead he was beaten 3/4’s of a length by the five year old Starcraft with many people questioning Frankie Dettori’s tactics.

That proved to be Dubawi’s final racecourse appearance. He never made the Breeders Cup and retired as the winner of five of his 8 starts including three Group 1’s. He had shown brilliance but also quirkiness as he had drifted across the track on a number of occasions (a tendency he shared with another son of Dubai Millennium now at stud, Echo of Light). He seemed versatile as to the going with only firm ground (as in the Guineas) being unsuitable.  He was clearly a brilliant miler, he had shown guts in running well over 12 furlongs at Epsom and it was surprising that he was never asked to run over 10 furlongs, a distance that would have seemed ideal for him.


As could be expected of any representative of Dubai Millennium’s only crop, Dubawi owns an impressive pedigree. His dam Zomaradah went from winning a maiden to winning the Italian Oaks. She subsequently maintained a high level of form adding Group successes in the EP Taylor stakes, the Royal Whip and the Premio Lydia Tesio and she finished a close third in the 1999 Breeders Cup Fillies & Mares Turf. Zomaradah ranks as the best offspring of Deploy (by Shirley Heights)who was runner-up in the Irish Derby and who was just one of the many celebrated offspring of Slightly Dangerous.

Dubawi’s granddam Jawaher ran five times without success but she was a daughter of High Tern who produced Derby winner High Rise (by High Estate by Shirley Heights).  Dubawi’s 4th dam Sunbittern is the dam of classic placed High Hawk (by Shirley Heights) and High Hawk was subsequently dam of In The Wings. No doubt all these Shirley Heights connections led to the selection of Deploy as a mate for Jawaher.

Dubai Millemmium left behind only 56 foals before his premature death. Dubawi was his only Group 1 winner and he was supported by the Group 2 winner (and nutcase) Echo of Light and Group 3 winner Belenus. After his death Sheikh Mohammed set about buying all the offspring of his favourite horse.  In hindsight with 9% black type winners Dubai Millennium had the makings of a very good but unexceptional sire given the opportunities he was afforded.

 Dubawi’s stud career to date

Dubawi’s first runners last year saw him crowned champion first season sire by winners (34). In addition to quantity his first crop included Group 2 winners Poet’s Voice (ex Bright Tiara by Chief’s Crown) and Sand Vixen (ex Fur Will Fly by Petong). This crop was conceived off an initial fee of £25000 and this remained his fee in 2007. He spent the 2008 season in Kildangan in Ireland at €40,000 before returning to Dalham Hall for 2009 season at a fee of £15000.  His initial success has seen this rise ot £20000 for the current season which seems quite reasonable to me. Dubawi has also shuttled to Australia and his first crop of two year olds are also now making a mark with Cellarmaster recently winning a Group 3 in New Zealand and finishing runner-up in a Group 2.


It would be foolish to put too much weight on a flurry of low level winners at this time of the year. However it is certainly encouraging that Dubawi is maintaining his momentum as his runners mature from two to three.  As a sire he can offer breeders a very good prospect of getting a winner and a reasonable prospect of a high class winner at that.  The best is yet to come and if Sheikh Mohammed wants to take his mind off Dubai’s debt crisis and his own profligacy he can console himself with the thought that he controls one of the most promising young stallions in Europe.



DUBAWI (IRE) 2002 c b

Millennium (GB) 1996
The Gold (USA) 1985
Prospector (USA) 1970
A Native (USA) 1961
Digger (USA) 1962
Game (USA) 1974
(USA) 1963
(USA) 1959
Dancer (IRE) 1986
Dancer (USA) 1980
Dancer (CAN) 1961
Alliance (USA) 1974
Aspen (USA) 1976
(USA) 1963
Water (USA) 1969
(GB) 1995
(GB) 1987
Heights (GB) 1975
Reef (USA) 1968
(GB) 1969
Dangerous (USA) 1979
(USA) 1969
You Lead (USA) 1970
(IRE) 1989
Brave (USA) 1983
(USA) 1969
Princess (USA) 1974
Tern (IRE) 1982
Line (GB) 1966
(GB) 1970