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Dubawi's Big Day

The first day of the Tattersall’s October Yearling Sale on Tuesday, October 8, was all about the super sire Dubawi, who stands at Darley’s Dalham Stud, in Newmarket, for 250,000 pounds. The top three lots were all by Dubawi, with the session topper selling for 3.6million guineas and two others selling for a million guineas. Dubawi’s record at stud warrants this attention. He is the first stallion since Sadler’s Wells to sire over a hundred group winners, and his list of group one winning progeny is compelling, including multiple Dubai World Cup S.-G1 winners. His yearling average in 2019 is the highest in North America and Europe, besting Galileo, Frankel, Curlin, etc.

Bred by Sheikh Mohammad, Dubawi represents the lone crop at stud for Dubai Millennium, himself a winner of the Dubai World Cup. It is rumored that Sheikh Mohammad thought he was the best colt he’d ever bred, hence his name, and he looked forward to a long and fruitful career at stud for his champion. The stallion stood the 2001 season at Dalham, and then became ill with grass sickness that selfsame year. A disease with a 95% mortality rate, grass sickness is mysterious, but is thought to be caused by a bacterium, clostridium botulinum, in the grass horses graze on. All attempts, surgical and medical, were made to save the stallion, but he died of the illness 2001. Dubawi was from that solitary foal crop.

Dubai Millennium was a son of stalwart American stallion Seeking the Gold, a son of Mr. Prospector out of the Buckpasser mare Con Game. His dam, Colorado Dancer, was by Shareef Dancer, a son of Northern Dancer out of a Sir Ivor mare. Her dam was a member of one of the great Blue Hen families—Fall Aspen—whose granddam was Portage, tail female of Cozzene. In Dubai Millennium, therefore, we had exhibited the classic Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer cross, with Buckpassser and Sir Ivor (and his powerful dam, Somethingroyal, by Princequillo) thrown in for good measure.

Dubawi’s dams’ side also boasts some keys to his success at stud. Zomaradah, his dam, was by Deploy, a son of Shirley Heights, by the great Mill Reef, by Never Bend. Deploy was out of the Roberto mare Slightly Dangerous, who was out of the Raise a Native mare Where you lead. The development here of the well-known Nasrullah/Turn-to cross (the latter through Hail to Reason and Sir Ivor, and the former through Never Bend), is heightened by a dose of Djebel through Dubawi’s fourth dam, plus another dose of Sir Ivor through his grandson, Drone, plus a matching dose of Northern Dancer through his great broodmare sire son, Lyphard.

It would make sense that enhancing all of these important twentieth century strains would be welcome in Dubawi’s mates, and the most superficial look at his list of Group One winners, including two Dubai World Cup winners Prince Bishop and Monterosso, reveals this to be true. Their pedigrees are littered with inbreeding to Northern Dancer (through Danzig, Nureyev, Nijinsky II, The Minstrel, and others) and to Never Bend (through second doses of Mill Reef, and Never Bend himself, including through the Blue Hen Courtly Dee, by Never Bend and other daughters of Mill Reef and Never Bend). Mr. Prospector and Raise a Native also are repeated, as is Buckpasser. Most significantly, so are Sir Ivor and his dam, Somethingroyal, adding both more Turn-to and Princequillo, through Habitat and Secretariat. Halo also appears in these pedigrees, adding more Turn-to, but also complementing all of the Natalma, Northern Dancer’s dam, with a dose of her half-sister, Cosmah. The matings designed for Dubawi have been pedigree perfection.

Lot number 148, the 3.6million guineas ($4,645,965) colt by Dubawi, echoes all of the most successful matings to Dubawi. He is out of the Galileo mare Alina, with Galileo providing two of the necessities for Dubawi’s success, Sadler’s Wells, by Northern Dancer, and the great Miswaki mare Urban Sea. Miswaki, by Mr. Prospector out of the Buckpasser mare Hopespringseternal, is therefore a three-quarters genetic relative to Seeking the Gold in Dubawi’s sire line, and Galileo is therefore closely related to Dubai Millennium himself, with the addition of Northern Dancer in each. But the similarities to Dubawi’s best runners don’t end there. The colt’s granddam is by Mujahid, who was by Danzig, out of a Storm Cat mare: more of the required Northern Dancer. His third dam is by Lycius (Mr. Prospector out of a Lyphard mare), and his fourth dam is by Slew o’Gold, adding a third strain of Buckpasser, this time mixed with Seattle Slew, who shares a tail female line with Mr. Prospector. This colt should run, and, from photographs, he harkens back to the scopier, elegant, leggy Dubai Millennium rather than to his stouter, short-backed, bigger boned, coarser father.

Lot number 77, the first of the million guineas ($1,290,546) colts, is out of the Dansili mare The Fugue, who brings the requisite Danzig to the table, along with Nijinsky II and a matching dose of High Line, which we find in Dubawi as well. Not surprisingly, Sadler’s Wells is the sire of his second dam, adding the riches of different strains of Northern Dancer which Dubawi seems to love. But it is his fourth dam, Soemba, who adds the finishing touch. She was by General Assembly, a son of Secretariat out of a Native Dancer mare, and her dam, Seven Seas, was by Riverman, a son, like Mill Reef, of Never Bend, and also presents a dose of My Babu, reeling in the Nasrullah and Turn-To in Dubawi.

The second million guineas colt, lot number 124, is out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Without You Babe, and Lemon Drop Kid, by himself, brings in the requisite pedigree necessities for successful matings with Dubawi. By Kingmambo, whose sire was Mr. Prospector, he is out of the Champion mare Miesque, by Nureyev, while Lemon Drop Kid’s dam, Charming Lassie (from the immediate family of A.P. Indy), adds both the Buckpasser and My Babu that Dubawi seems to love. The colt’s second dam, Marozia, was by Storm Bird—another different cross to Northern Dancer—and out of a Roberto mare, making the colt inbred to Roberto 5 x 4, heightening the Turn-to effect.

Though Coolmore’s Galileo has long seemed the king of stallions, it’s clear that Dubawi is knocking, loudly, at his door for supremacy. As is only fitting, as the competition between Coolmore and Darley is decades old. In fact, it was Godolphin (the racing arm of the Sheikh’s Darley Stud) that outbid Coolmore for the top Dubawi lot. They are the two great forces in the stallion world, and right now, in terms of yearling sales, Dubawi’s challenge to the alpha male Galileo is daily strengthened.

-- Roberta Smoodin

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