Remembering a true legend, Dubai Millennium
On the anniversary of his death, we look back at the remarkable career of Dubai Millennium, one of racing’s all-time greats and Sheikh Mohammed’s favourite horse.
Dubai Millennium was born at Dalham Hall Stud in 1996 and the handsome son of Seeking The Gold impressed from an early stage. Originally named Yaazer, meaning ‘White Gazelle’, he was given his now legendary name after being quickly identified him as one of the most promising two-year-olds of his year, if not ever.
Trained by David Loder as a juvenile, Dubai Millennium made just one start at two but it was a performance to remember as he won his one-mile maiden at Yarmouth by five lengths, eased down in the closing stages.
Dubai Millennium was then transferred to Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor’s stable and made his three-year-old debut in early May, romping to a nine-length victory in a Doncaster conditions race. A swift return 15 days later saw him gain his first Stakes win, flying from last to first to win the Predominate Stakes at Goodwood by three and a half lengths.
Allowed to take his chance in the Derby, things did not go his way that day but that was to be his one and only taste of defeat during his illustrious career. He bounced back to form in the G2 Prix Eugene Adam before gaining his first G1 victory in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, finishing ahead of fellow Godolphin runner and previous G1 winner Slickly.
Dubai Millennium rounded off his campaign with a massive six-length win in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot and travelled to winter in Dubai full of the promise that his best was yet to come.
As the new millennium began, so did Dubai Millennium’s preparations for a race that had been earmarked for him two years previously - the 2000 Dubai World Cup. On his debut at Nad Al Sheba, he eased to a four-and-a-half-length win in the Listed Al Maktoum Challenge, setting him up perfectly for the world’s richest race a few weeks later.
On the big night, Dubai Millennium could not have been more impressive. Taking the lead after a furlong, he pulled further and further clear of his rivals in the home straight and eventually won by six lengths, with second-placed Behren five lengths ahead of the rest of the field. It was a truly spectacular performance and one that broke the track record by nearly half a second.
Dubai Millennium then returned to Europe and in his typical front-running style, trounced the field in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, winning by no fewer than six lengths.
Sadly, that victory was to be his last appearance on the racecourse, as a serious injury sustained on the gallops meant he was to return to his birthplace to start his new career as a stallion at Dalham Hall Stud.
He retired with a Timeform rating of 140, the highest since Dancing Brave and the eighth highest awarded since the organisation was founded.
Tragically, in April 2001, Dubai Millennium contracted grass sickness and despite every effort from his expert veterinary team, he could not be saved.
His legacy, however, continues as his small first crop of just 56 foals included none other than Dubawi.
After following in his father’s footsteps when winning the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois, having already won the G1 National Stakes at two and the Irish 2,000 Guineas earlier that year, Dubawi took up stud duties at Dalham Hall and has since become one of the most successful stallions in the world – a fitting tribute to his outstanding sire.