Dubai: The historic Epsom Racecourse in the UK has been a happy hunting ground for Dubai owners over the years - so it’s not surprising to see that as many as six horses will vie for top honours in Saturday’s much-anticipated renewal of one of the world’s most famous flat races.
Godolphin, the global powerhouse who won the 2,400 metre contest in 2018, are represented by a trio of raiders - all trained by Charlie Appleby who saddled Masar to victory on that occasion.
Heading Appleby’s team is exciting Dante Stakes hero Hurricane Lane (William Buick) together with One Ruler (James Doyle), a runner-up in the Futurity at Doncaster on his most recent outing and Adayar (Adam Kirby), who has turned in some strong performances at Sandown and Lingfield.
Mohaafeth represents Shadwell, the global breeding empire of the late Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance. The mount of two-time British champion jockey Jim Crowley, Mohaafeth come into the race following his imperious five and-a-half length victory at Newmarket racecourse just five weeks ago.
Sheikh Hamdan previously won the Derby in 1989 with the great Nashwan and followed up the feat in 1994 when Erhaab won in his famous blue and white silks.
Third Realm represents Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, who savoured Derby glory in 1998 when High Rise won the premier Classic. Third Realm (Andrea Atzeni) marked himself out as a leading contender when readily winning last month’s Lingfield Derby Trial.
Completing the Dubai-owned raiding party is Youth Spirit (Tom Marquand), who bids to give Dubai businessman Ahmed Al Shaikh a first success in the race. Twelve months ago, Al Shaikh’s Khalifa Sat finished runner-up to Serpentine in the Epsom showpiece.
Youth Spirit announced himself as a Derby contender when taking last month’s Chester Vase in impressive fashion.
The ante-post favourite is the Irish-trained Bolshoi Ballet (Ryan Moore), who warmed up for his British challenge by winning the two main trials including the highly-regarded Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown last month.
Other contenders include 2000 Guineas victory Mac Swiney, the second favourite, Southern Lights, Gear Up and Moji Star.
Ahead of Saturday’s Derby, often referred to as the ‘Blue Riband’ of the turf, Gulf News looks back at the eight horses that won the race for Emirati owners:
Owned by late Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid al Maktoum
One of the greatest horses bred and owned by Sheikh Hamdan, Nashwan was the very first Epsom Derby winner for a Dubai owner when he romped home in the 210th edition in the hands of Willie Carson. Trained by the legendary Dick Hern, Nashwan won from 500/1 outsider Terimon, the European Champion Older Horse at the inaugural Cartier Racing Awards in 991.
Nashwan also won three Group 1 races that year including the 2000 Guineas, Eclipse Stakes and King George.
Owned by late Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikh Hamdan and his stable jockey, Willie Carson, provided Dubai with its second Epsom derby when the brilliant Erhaab justified his favourite’s tag to win from King’s Theatre, the mount of champion jockey Mick Kinane. Erhaab was bred in the US by Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Stud and was trained throughout his outstanding career by John Dunlop.
Due to his unusually dark colour, Sheikh Hamdan named Erhaab after an Arabic word which means ‘terrifying’ or ‘intimidating.’
Owned by Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
One of the great winners of the Derby was Lammtarra who won the race in record time, coming home a length clear of Tamure. He was ridden by choir boy Walter Swinburn and trained by former Emirati police man Saeed Bin Surour. Lammtarra was bred by Sheikh Saeed’s father the former Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid al Maktoum, at his Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky.
Owned by Khalifa Bin Dasmal
Shaamt would serve up a hat-trick of wins for Dubai connections when he upset favourite Dushyantor to give Dubai businessman Khalifa Bin Dasmal the biggest win of his career. Shaamit, who was bred by Bin Dasmal, was ridden by Michael Hills and trained by William Haggas. He was retired to stud at the end of his three-year-old season and died in 2001.
1998 High Rise
Ridden by French champion Olivier Peslier, High Rise pulled off a shock victory for owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum when he won at odds of 20/1. Favourite Cape Verdi, ridden by Frankie Dettori for Saeed Bin Surour, could only finish ninth. Bin Surour’s second runner, City Honours was beaten by a head. High Rise was bred in Ireland but trained in England by Luca Cumani. He currently stands a stud in Ireland.
2003 Kris Kin
Owned by Saeed Suhail
Kris Kin went into the race with a leading chance and with the masterly Kieren Fallon in the saddle, he duly won by one length from The Great Gatsby. He was trained by Sir Michael Stoute. Once again, the Saeed Bin Surour-trained favourite, Refuse to Bend, failed to deliver and finished 14th. Kris Kin, whose racing career last just over a year died in 2012.
2008 New Approach
Owned by princess Haya Bint Hussein
Trained by the veteran Jim Bolger, New Approach was a hard-working winner of the race for jockey Kevin Manning, having to do his very best to see off Irish raider Tartan Bearer by half a length. During his three-year-old career, New Approach also won the Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes at Ascot. He was rated the best horse in the world together with Dubai World Cup winner Curlin. New Approach also sired 2018 Derby winner Masar.
Owned by Godolphin
Masar made history when he became the first horse to win the Epsom Derby in the colours of Godolphin, the stable created by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Masar was ridden by William Buick and trained by Charlie Appleby.
Bred in Ireland by Godolphin, Masar raced unsuccessfully in Dubai before returning to the UK where he won the Craven Stakes and also finished third in the 2000 Guineas. After his Derby win, he suffered injury problems and was retired.