Author: Derek Thompson

As DUBAWI sets out on a new covering season at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, I wonder could this be the year the son of Dubai Millenium takes over from Galileo as Europe’s number one stallion? It’s going to cost breeders £250,000 to get their mares covered by Dubawi but that looks good value because he sired the top two 2yos in Europe last season in Too Darn Hot and Quorto; and if they go on to win the Classic races, then Dubawi could make it to that coveted number one spot. Too Darn Hot earned an official rating of 126 when winning the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes. That was the same rating given to a certain Frankel and we all know what he went on to achieve! And Quorto, who is trained by Charlie Appleby, won the Group 1 National Stakes in the style of a horse who could have the world at his feet in 2019.

That’s not all, for he has another unbeaten juvenile colt called Al Hilalee, while the older Dubawi’s include Benbatl who enjoyed Group One triumphs in Dubai, Germany and Australia last season and could certainly add plenty of big prize money this year. Dubawi is now 17 years of age and it is lovely to see him doing so well because he was one of the few offspring of the legend who was Dubai Millennium. Anybody who saw him win the 2000 Dubai World Cup will never forget him and it was tragic that he died so soon after becoming a stallion. But he is buried at HH Sheikh Mohammed’s Dalham Hall Stud just a few yards from Dubawi’s stable and it’s good to see his son doing his dad proud! Elsewhere, Tropics continues to show the youngsters the way home and the 11yo did it again in a decent handicap at Chelmsford City Racecourse last week.

I don’t know many 11yos who are rated 100 but Tropics is and he may well go higher after winning his 13th race in tremendous style. Owned and trained by Dean Ivory, he took his career earnings to £562,000 and that could have been a lot more if he hadn’t twice finished second in Europe’s premier sprint, the Group 1 Darley July Cup. He won his first race way back in 2012 and there’s no chance of him calling it a day because he loves being a racehorse! “He is the life and soul of our stables,“ said his trainer, “and every evening I take him carrots and mints. “He is out on the gallops every day and loves mixing it with the younger horses.

Mind you, he can be a bit of a lad and he does take some looking after but it is so worthwhile; there is no doubt he can still mix it with the best.” Long may it continue! Brian Hughes achieved a lifelong ambition when the northern-based jockey became the 25th National Hunt rider to partner 1,000 winners. The 33yo Irish-born rider, who rode his first winner back in 2002, has long been based in the north of England where there aren’t as many race meetings as in the south. I am certain if he had based himself in the south, he could have ridden many more winners and possibly become Champion Jockey. He is dedicated to his profession so much so that on the day of his wedding, he actually rode out in the morning before going to the church!

After partnering his 1,000th winner, he celebrated by riding a treble the following day! And finally... it was good to see footballer Charlie Austin ‘score’ with Another Batt at Meydan last week for he is part of the syndicate that owns Excel Racing. And it had me thinking about going to see a football match last weekend, which I did. I made the long trip up north to see my team, Middlesbrough, play Peterborough in the third round of the FA Cup. The result was a stunning 5-0 win for us and the chairman, Steve Gibson, came over to me after the final whistle and suggested I come a lot more, because I am obviously the lucky mascot!

2019 – the year of Dubawi