Dubai: Dubai owners have won the Epsom Derby (G1) on no less than eight occasions in the past and, this Saturday, that impressive record can receive another boost should Madhmoon or Line Of Duty win Britain’s most prestigious race.
Line Of Duty represents the Godolphin Stable created by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Ruler of Dubai, while Madhmoon races in the colours of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, who has sampled Derby success twice with Nashwan in 1989 and Erhaab in 1994.
Line Of Duty is trained by Charlie Appleby, who is looking for back-to-back wins in the £1, 5 million (Dh6.9 million) contest following Masar’s heart-stopping victory 12 months ago.
The ground would have been quick enough for him, but at least we have a run under our belt.
Run over distance of 2.400 metres on what is arguably one of the world’s most challenging races tracks, most of the contenders have come through some testing races heading into the premier Classic.
Interesting, the only two horses since 1945, Lammtarra (1995) and Shaamit (1996), have won the Derby without running in a trail, were both owned by a Dubai connection — Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and Khalifa Bin Dasmal, respectively,
Line of Duty, who marked himself out as a star-in-the-making when landing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Classic (G1) in America last season, used the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York as his stepping stone to the Epsom showpiece.
However, the nice-looking son of Galileo answered few questions on his season debut when finishing seventh behind the winner, Telecaster, who he reopposes in Saturday’s race.
Line of Duty looked progressive at two, as evidenced by his Breeders’ Cup victory, and it will be interesting to see how well he handles the challenges Epsom has to offer and replicate the feat of Masar.
“As we know, it is a strong race and it was a competitive renewal of the Dante. Turning in, we knew our fate — that it was just not going to happen,” Appleby told Timeform. “The ground would have been quick enough for him, but at least we have a run under our belt.
“We will see what he does over the course of the week, but he has got to come forward to be a Derby horse.”
Madhmoon, who is prepared by veteran Irish handler Kevin Prendergast, looks a horse who will not be ruffled by Epsom’s idiosyncrasies.
A noteworthy staying-on fourth to Magna Grecia in the English 2,000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket last month, has given way to suggestions that he will stay the distance.
Prendergast said earlier this week: “The horse is going very well, he’s in very good shape, he came out of Newmarket very well. It’s all systems go to run in the Derby. The way he finished I’d be surprised and disappointed if he didn’t get the extra half-mile.
“We’ve beaten Broome once and I don’t see why we can’t beat him again,” the trainer added, pointing to a Group 2 contest at Leopardstown in September.
“We beat him by two and a half lengths. And Aidan O’Brien’s other horse that won at Chester, Sir Dragonet. The ground was bottomless, so what will he do if the ground is good to dry at Epsom?”
The Leopardstown defeat notwithstanding, Broome is vying for pole position in the markets with stable companion Sir Dragonte.
Beaten by Godolphin’s Royal Marine in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp as a two-year old, he bounced back with smashing victories in the Ballysax and Derrinstown Stud trials this spring.