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Dubawi, the Heir Apparent?

The loss of the brilliant Dubai Millennium to grass sickness after just one year at stud was mitigated somewhat when his son Dubawi (IRE) (TrueNicks,SRO) turned out to be an outstanding performer. A winner of five of his eight starts, Dubawi took the Superlative Stakes (gr. III) and National Stakes (gr. I) at two, and won the Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) and Prix Jacques Le Marois (gr. I) at three. His only defeats were a fifth when unhappy on hard ground in the English 2,000 Guineas (gr. I); when third in the Epsom Derby (gr. I) at a distance beyond his best; and when beaten ¾ of a length by the older Starcraft in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (gr. I).

It is early yet, but it appears that Dubawi may turn out to be the replacement for his sire at stud. With his first crop only in the early months of their three-year-old careers, he has already had five Northern Hemisphere stakes winners, all five at group level. Last year, the filly Sand Vixen won the Flying Childers Stakes (gr. II) and St. Hugh’s Stakes over five furlongs, and the colt Poet’s Voice took the Champagne Stakes (gr. II). This year, the Dubawi's have figured prominently in the early European classic action, Worthadd winning the Premio Parioli-Italian 2,000 Guineas (gr. III); Anna Salai capturing the Prix de la Grotte (gr. III) for fillies over a mile, her prep for the French 1,000 Guineas; and of course Makfi, who had already won the Prix Djebel (gr. III) before upsetting the English 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) last weekend.

Bred by Shadwell and sold as an unraced two-year-old for just 26,000 guineas at the Newmarket Autumn Horses in Training Sale, Makfi took his record to three-for-three in the Guineas. Makfi certainly has a classic family – his dam is a half-sister to Dewhurst Stakes (gr. I) winner Alhaarth, and Makfi’s granddam, Irish Valley, is an Irish River half sister to French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) victor Green Dancer. This is the same Ampola branch of the Blue Demin family that produced Champion French Two-Year-Old and good sire Grey Dawn II.

At this stage it is early for trends to appear, but there are some things to note. Dubawi is from the Mr. Prospector line, via his grandsire Seeking the Gold. His dam, Zomaradah – by the Shirley Heights horse Deploy – won the Italian Oaks (gr. I) and is closely related to Epsom Derby (gr. I) winner High-Rise, and to the dam of In the Wings, best known these days as the sire of Singspiel. Dubawi does have two crosses of Northern Dancer, but they are 4 x 5 in his pedigree. The Northern Dancer strains come through a pair of Northern Dancer/Sir Gaylord crosses (Shareef Dancer, the broodmare sire of Dubai Millennium; and Dancing Brave, sire of the granddam of Dubawi), which rather intriguingly is similar to another red-hot European sire, Oasis Dream, who is by Green Desert (Northern Dancer/Sir Ivor cross) out of a mare by Dancing Brave.

With this mind, it’s not surprising that Dubawi is already working well over Northern Dancer. Funnily enough, Makfi (TrueNicks A++) is out of a mare by Green Desert, giving him three crosses of Northern Dancer/Sir Gaylord. Makfi’s second dam is by Irish River, by Riverman, giving the genetic relatives Riverman and Mill Reef. Green Desert’s sire, Danzig, is also in the broodmare sire line of Poet’s Voice (TrueNicks A++), whose dam is by Chief’s Crown (by Danzig out of a mare by Sir Gaylord’s half brother Secretariat), and of Dubawi’s Australian-sired stakes winner Golden Millennium (TrueNicks A++), who is out of a mare by Eagle Eyed (brother to Danehill, so a big hint towards breeding Dubawi to mares descending from Danehill).

Anna Salai (TrueNicks A++) is out of a mare from the Nijinsky II branch of Northern Dancer, her dam being by Caerleon. This is something of a continuation of a trend, as Dubai Millennium sired a stakes winner out of a mare by Caerleon’s son Generous, and the Seeking the Gold/Nijinsky II cross has produced several stakes winners. Dubawi also has a group II-placed filly out of a mare by Suave Dancer, a grandson of Nijinsky II. Before leaving Northern Dancer crosses, we’ll also note group III-placed Dubawi Phantom, who is out of a half sister to the dam of Anna Salai, but whose broodmare sire is In the Wings – as we noted, a close relation to Dubawi’s dam, Zomaradah. Dubawi Phantom has inbreeding to Shirley Heights and three crosses of that horse’s sire, Mill Reef. Anna Salai has a double of Mill Reef. Dubai Millennium had two group winners out of mares by Sadler’s Wells, the sire of In the Wings, and this strain should also be good under Dubawi, especially considering his own Shirley Heights strain.

Dubawi is also working with non-Northern Dancer line mares, evidenced by Worthadd (TrueNicks B+), who is out of a mare by Rahy. This is an example of the Seeking the Gold/Blushing Groom cross which has a very reasonable strike rate (perhaps because Seeking the Gold is out of a Buckpasser mare). Dubawi also has group-placed Astrophysical Jet out of a mare by Rainbow Quest, a Blushing Groom son, who has some pedigree similarity to Rahy, both having Herbager close up in the dam.

The odditiy here is the speedy Sand Vixen, who is out of a mare by Petong. This is a male-line that we don’t see a lot of. Petong is by the sharp U.S.-bred/English-raced two-year-old Mansingh, a son of Jaipur (by Nasrullah), a horse best remembered for defeating Ridan in an epic duel for the 1962 Travers Stakes, although his other triumphs included the Hopeful Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mansingh is a Nearco/Native Dancer cross, a parallel to Northern Dancer and a reverse to Mr. Prospector.

Dubawi's runners seem to be benefiting from added maturity, and it will be interesting to observe how these trends develop over the course of the season. To this point, however, Dubawi looks poised to fulfill the potential left unrealized by his ill-fated sire.

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