Host of juvenile talents set to emerge for Darley's Dubawi
Siblings to Arabian Queen, Izzi Top and Muhaarar among those to look forward to
There can be no getting away from the fact that the opening rounds of the 2017 Flat season saw perennial champion sire Galileo deliver a sucker punch to his nearest rivals. The linchpin of the Coolmore operation delivered a heavyweight volley of stakes scorers, including the winner of both the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, to quickly put daylight between himself and the rest on the leading sire list.
But a number of stallions have since picked themselves up off the canvas and begun to work their way back into the fight, and chief among the challengers is Galileo’s old adversary, Dubawi.
Recently Dubawi has been represented by the likes of Sobetsu, the three-year-old filly who kickedstarted the fightback in earnest with a deeply impressive victory in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary. That was followed soon after by Dartmouth, who plundered hidden reserves of stamina to emerge victorious in a blanket finish to the Yorkshire Cup.
That pair are joined by a host of promising performers who look capable of mixing it in higher grades when the opportunity presents itself, such as Group 3 winner Bean Feasa - a half-sister to Teofilo; the talented and progressive Benbatl - third in the Craven Stakes and runner-up in the Dante; easy Goodwood Listed winner Laugh Aloud, and the improving Red Label, as well as upwardly mobile handicap scorers Alqamar, Appeared and Frontiersman.
There has also been a steady stream of completely unexposed and eye-catching maiden winners for Dubawi, such as; Dubai Thunder - who looks a ready-made Derby contender; Hold Sway; Ottonian; Janszoon and Silken Dancer.
It is fair assertion that Dubawi has an almighty task on his hands to topple Galileo from the top of the sires’ table, particularly given that plenty of the performers that propelled the son of Sadler’s Wells so far clear last year remain in training this campaign - not to mention the plethora of two-year-old siblings those runners have coming through, but that is not to say that Darley's flagship stallion does have more than a few aces of his own up his sleeve.
There is no getting away from the fact that Dubawi suffered an early season blow when one of his flagbearers, Postponed, was retired having unfortunately met with injury, but there remains a more than able list of names still available to fight their sire’s corner, such as the aforementioned Dartmouth and Sobetsu, Journey, So Mi Dar, Zarak, and Wuheida to name but a few.
The latter name in that list played a significant role in Dubawi’s 2016 campaign, as she supplied her sire with his first Group 1-winning juvenile when edging out Promise To Be True in the Prix Marcel Boussac. So now that he has got that particular monkey off his back, will we see further top-flight two-year-old winners among Dubawi’s current crop?
When you delve into the pedigrees of the colts and fillies that make up the sire’s battalion of juveniles of 2017, there looks to be every chance we will.
Dubawi’s 2014 book, covered in the afterglow of the 2013 season, which saw the likes of Al Kazeem carry all before him in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Coral-Eclipse, and Akeed Mofeed, Hunter’s Light and Lucky Nine land international Group 1s, saw 126 foals produced from 160 mares covered. Of that number, 135 of those mares are winners (84 per cent of the total book), 93 of them having scored in black-type races (58 per cent), and 66 of them having won at Group or Graded level (41 per cent).
Group or Grade 1 winners with two-year-old siblings by Dubawi are:
Al Kazeem (unnamed filly, with Roger Charlton)
Arabian Queen (Cosmopolitan Queen, a filly wit David Elsworth)
Awelmarduk, Crackerjack King and Jakkalberry (Carriwitchet, a filly with Charlie Appleby)
Comic Strip and Laughing (George Villiers, a colt)
Cutlass Bay (Crown Walk, a filly)
Giofra (Gratefully, a filly)
Ibn Khaldun (Wedding Veil, a filly)
Izzi Top (Emaraaty, a colt with John Gosden)
Lucky Nine (Muneyra, a filly with William Haggas)
Manduro (Metterling, a colt)
Mount Nelson (Trumbull, a colt)
Muhaarar (Wufud, a colt with Charlie Hills)
Outstrip (Bluecap, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
Polarisation (Mountain Lake, a filly with Saeed bin Suroor)
Teofilo (Poetic Charm, a filly with Charlie Appleby)
Termagant (Sary Arqa, a filly with Roger Varian)
Zhukova (Pitch Dark, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
Group or Grade 1-winning mares with offspring by Dubawi are:
Asi Siempre (Bluecap, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
Be Fabulous (Lillian Russell, a filly)
Beauty Parlour (Being There, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
Buster’s Ready (Hallucinate, a filly with Freddy Head)
Check The Label (an unnamed colt with William Haggas)
Dar Re Mi (Lah Ti Dar, a filly)
Dalkala (an unnamed filly)
Fallen For You (Glorious Journey, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
Folk Opera (Refrain, a colt with Sir Michael Stoute)
Ghanaati (Wafy, a colt with Charlie Hills)
Golden Lilac (an unnamed colt)
Gossamer (Wedding Veil, a filly)
Great Heavens (Dubhe, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
I’m A Dreamer (Dream Warrior, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
Icon Project (unnamed filly with Roger Charlton)
Indian Ink (Maghaweer, a colt with Richard Hannon)
La Collina (Piccola Collina, a filly with Charlie Appleby)
Natagora (Shurooq, a filly with Owen Burrows)
Nightime (Pitch Dark, a colt with Charlie Appleby)
Passage Of Time (Perpetual, a colt)
Rock Opera (unnamed colt with Charlie Appleby)
Zee Zee Top (Emaraaty, a colt with John Gosden)
Those 126 foals include brothers and sisters to the likes of Arabian Queen, Dartmouth, Lucky Nine, So Mi Dar and Time Test, namely Cosmopolitan Queen, Desert Breeze, Muneyra, Lah Ti Dar, and Perpetual. While half-brothers to the likes of Muhaarar, Mount Nelson and Zhukova, named Wufud, Trumbull and Pitch Dark, have also emerged from that same book.
And from the 66 Group/Graded winners Dubawi covered are a handful who plied their trade at the very top of the racing tree, including Great Heavens, I’m A Dreamer and La Collina, and should they prove capable of passing on a share of their own ability to the likes of Dubhe, Dream Warrior and Piccola Collina, it looks likely that Dubawi’s hand for the 2017 season will have been significantly strengthened.
One arena in which Dubawi did get one up on Galileo during 2016 was in the sales ring, and the quintet of seven-figure yearlings he had sell last year are among the most highly anticipated newcomers set to step foot on a racecourse over the coming months.
They are headed by the 2,600,000gns joint sale-toppers from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, with Fallen For You’s colt having been named Glorious Journey and Zee Zee Top’s being named Emaraaty. There is also the colt out of Nature Spirits, named Ghostwatch, who fetched 2,100,000gns, and the colt out of Giants Play, named Ispolini, who brought 1,200,000gns. And of course there is also the Goffs Orby sale-topping colt, with the first foal out of Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Beauty Parlour, named Being There, having fetched a bid of €1.4 million from Godolphin chief executive John Ferguson.
Dubawi himself may have been a hugely talented juvenile - winning the Group 1 National Stakes on his third and final run at two - a campaign in which he went unbeaten. But it was at three that he really flourished, and it seems as though the mares chosen to visit him in 2014 were also at their best beyond their juvenile season, with a significant proportion of his book also having shown their best form at a mile or further.
As such, it may be expecting too much for Dubawi's two-year-olds to be the division responsible for closing the gap on Galileo, as it is likely to be further down the line when his stock come into their own.
Nevertheless, considering the quality of mares Dubawi has been supported with, it seems almost inconceivable that there won't prove to be a whole host of exciting runners among this year's juvenile crop, even if their best years undoubtedly lie ahead of them.
It won't be easy for any stallion to wrest the champion sire title away from Galileo, whose record in Classics is frankly head and shoulders above the rest, but if any sire is going to keep the Coolmore colossus on his toes, it is sure to be Dubawi.