Though we saw precious little of him on the track and nowhere near as much as we’d like to have at stud, Dubai Millennium was one of the best race horses of modern times and should be remembered as such.
His striking, long-striding, no holds barred style won him many admirers as he topped the ratings going into the new millennium and ran his top-class rivals into the ground.
He retired to make his mark as a stallion, which he achieved largely through one outstanding offspring, though was taken from us too soon.
Nevertheless, his impact was great, and his story has even been re-told in a book written by Rachel Pagones.
Dubai Millennium’s Pedigree
Foaled on March 20th, 1996 at Dalham Hall Stud near racing’s HQ at Newmarket. Dalham Hall stud is owned by Godolphin operator Sheikh Mohammed.
His pedigree reads really well, as you’d expected, with his owners knowing very early on that he was bound to bring success both on the track and, later on, in the breeding sheds.
|Sire/Dam||Grand Sire/Dam||Great Grand Sire/Dam|
|Seeking The Gold||Mr Prospector||Raise A Native|
|Colorado Dancer||Shareef Dancer||Northern Dancer|
As a Mr Prospector stallion Seeking The Gold was already doing well. He had sired many Group 1 winners so with this horse coming from that line and being out of Colorado Dancer much was expected.
On the dam’s side there is some Northern Dancer in fact in the pedigree which is important as you’ll see from some of our other race horse profiles. Northern Dancer produced Sadler’s Wells and in turn Galileo and Frankel.
While we know all about that family it also led to Dubai Millennium who, as we’ll see later, put his own mark on the industry after retirement from the track.
After being foaled the colt was at first named Yaazer. The name meant ‘White Gazelle’, but after it emerged that he was clearly the most promising juvenile of Sheikh Mohammed’s entire operation at Godolphin, he was renamed and very well as it turned out.
After being renamed and showing up really well at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud, Dubai Millennium was sent at first to Godolphin’s David Loder who at that point trained the operation’s two-year-olds.
He raced just once for Newmarket’s Loder as a juvenile, making his racecourse debut on October 28th, 1998 in a maiden at Yarmouth.
Going off at restrictive odds of 4/9, he made no mistake under Frankie Dettori, going easily all the way down the one-mile straight and quickening clear impressively to score by five lengths.
After being put away for the winter, Dubai Millennium was then sent to Saeed bin Suroor to be trained for his three-year-old season.
Not being ready for the 2000 Guineas and having only raced once, the colt was given a spin at Doncaster in early May in a conditions race which he won easily by nine lengths.
It appeared a tilt at the Derby was on the cards with the horse being sent for a Listed Race prep at Goodwood, which of course he won very easily.
His entry into the Derby in 1999 was considered very sporting indeed, as it was remarked by one well-known industry personality that Dubai Millennium “couldn’t get a mile and a half in his horsebox!”
On breeding, many would have agreed and although he was indeed sent off favourite at Epsom, he was as big as 5/1. Having been too keen early, his chance did indeed disappear in the Derby which was won by Oath.
The Godolphin team didn’t lose faith in him. He dropped back to ten furlongs and Group 2 company to run in the Prix Eugene-Adam in France, winning there before taking in the one-mile Prix Jacque le Marois which he won impressively.
Known to be a Group 1 horse by now but not necessarily a superstar, his reputation changed forever when he finished his second season in the QEII at Ascot. A 4/9 favourite in a quality field, he was in no danger turning for home and stretched well clear under Dettori to record a big success.
After wintering in Dubai with much of the Godolphin string, Dubai Millennium’s early season target was the world’s richest race; the Dubai World Cup.
The Dubai Carnival in those days was run at Nad Al Sheba, where this horse won a prep race at Listed level rather easily.
His date with destiny came at the end of March however when the admittedly highly-rated European turn horse had to take on the American dirt specialists. As it turns out, that was to be no problem.
Despite breaking from the outside, Dubai Millennium got to the lead and bullied his field. He stretched on to win by a yawning six lengths from multiple North American Grade One winner Behrens, returning to a wonderful reaction from the crowds.
He was to race only one more time, landing another success in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot that June.
In all, Dubai Millennium won nine of his 10 career races. His only defeat would come during that sporting attempt to win the Derby in 1999.
After the Dubai World Cup, he was given an official rating of 136. For context the greatest horse of all time, Frankel, was rated 140. Considering he did this on turf and dirt, Dubai Millennium is not mentioned enough in terms of the greats of the sport.
Dubai Millennium’s Group 1 wins:
|Date||Race||Won By (Runner-Up)||SP|
|15/08/99||Prix Jacques le Marois, Deauville||2½ lengths, Slickly||7/5|
|26/09/99||Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Ascot||6 lengths, Almushtarak||4/9|
|25/03/00||Dubai World Cup, Nad Al Sheba||6 lengths, Behrens||N/A|
|21/06/00||Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Ascot||8 lengths, Sumitas||5/4|
During the course of his short career, Dubai Millennium’s track earnings were £2,752,610. That is the equivalent of around £4.8 million by the end of 2022.
Had he won the Dubai World Cup in 2000 however, for that race alone he would have brought home close to £6 million.
Things moved awfully quickly after Dubai Millennium retired from racing. He managed to produce a crop of 56 foals, but by April 2001 he had become extremely ill with grass sickness.
Despite quick and intensive treatment from vets, along with several operations, he could not be saved. Dubai Millennium was euthanised on April 29th, 2001. He is buried at Dalham Hall Stud where he was foaled and stood as a stallion.
Given his short stint on earth after retiring from the track, he has produced one of our best sires in Dubawi and also has a race named in his honour, the Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan. There’s no telling what influence he would have had on the sport had he lived longer.
Dubai Millennium’s Stud Career
After being retired back to his birthplace at Dalham Hall Stud, Dubai Millennium’s terrific pedigree and race record led to an initial stallion fee of £100,000. That was seen as a huge amount but there was no shortage of mares being sent to him.
At age five he produced a crop of 56 foals which were very successful right off the bat.
Of major note among that one and only crop was Dubawi. He went on to win the National Stakes, the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Prix Jacque le Marois just like his dad, himself going on to be extremely successful at stud for many years.
Unfortunately, that initial crop was to be Dubai Millennium’s only one as he died at just five years old.
Dubawi was easily the highest rated horse by Dubai Millennium at 125. In turn, he has produced Ghaiyyath, Monterosso, Benbatl, Too Darn Hot and Al Kazeem so far, all rated 126 and over.
He is responsible too for many, many more Group 1 winners such as Lord North, Postponed, Modern Games, Coroebus, Quorto, Night Of Thunder, Space Blues, Yibir and the list goes on. The plan now is for Godolphin to get a Derby winner from Dubawi.
Echo Of Light was another notable runner from Dubai Millennium’s limited crop, that horse winning seven races including four in Group company.
Sheikh Mohammed’s breeding operation, known as Darley, was responsible for Dubai Millennium being foaled in March 1996.
He was sent from Dalham Hall Stud to be first trained by David Loder in Newmarket. Back then, Loder exclusively trained two-year-olds for Sheikh Mohammed’s racing ownership operation, Godolphin.
After his juvenile career ended, Dubai Millennium was sent to Godolphin’s then main trainer Saeed bin Suroor, again in Newmarket.
In all of his first nine races, the colt was ridden by Frankie Dettori who back then was the operation’s first jockey. With Dettori unavailable for his Royal Ascot run in 2000, the horse was instead ridden on his final start by American jockey Jerry Bailey.
Indeed, after the race Bailey was asked to compare Dubai Millennium to the great Cigar. His reply was that he was “equally impressive”. Very high praise indeed.