Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 August 2020

UAE great sporting moments - No 3: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's Dubai Millennium romps home to win 2000 Dubai World Cup

Dubai Millennium blows field away at Nad Al Sheba

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Every day over three weeks, The National looks back at the 21 greatest moments in UAE sports history.

As the world entered a new millennium, an aptly-named and majestic-looking thoroughbred would set a course record to win the 2000 Dubai World Cup.

Dubai Millennium would go on to win nine of his 10 career starts, the highlight being that magical night at Meydan 20 years ago, a race his owner/breeder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, had earmarked for him two years before.

Ridden by the affable Frankie Dettori in the royal blue silks of Godolphin, Dubai Millennium thundered down the old Nad Al Sheba track to win the 10-furlong race in 1 minute, 59.50 seconds.

He was the first horse to break the two-minute barrier at the old dirt track, a record that still stands, with the world's richest night of horse racing relocating to the flagship Meydan Racecourse in 2010.

He remains one of Sheikh Mohammed's favourite horses.

Born at the Dalham Hall Stud in the UK in 1996, the son of Seeking The Gold was trained by David Loder as a juvenile, impressing in his only race as a two-year-old by romping home to win a maiden run over a mile trip at Yarmouth by five lengths.

He moved to the stable of Godolphin’s longest serving trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, and made his debut as a three-year-old in May 1999, coming home nine lengths clear in a conditions race at Doncaster.

He stretched his unbeaten run to three with his first Stakes win, coming from last to first in the Listed Predominate Stakes at Goodwood by three-and-a-half lengths.

Dubai Millennium was entered in the Epsom Derby but things did not go his way that day, as he finished ninth, which was to be his one and only defeat during his illustrious career.

Returning from the Derby setback, he won a Group 2 and a first Group 1 prize in France before rounding off his three-year-old campaign in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He then arrived in Dubai to begin his preparation for a race that had been earmarked for him since he was two.

He eased to victory in the Listed Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, the Prep race for the Dubai World Cup, which set him up perfectly for the Dubai World Cup meeting three weeks later.

On that night, Dubai Millennium was sent to the front after the first furlong, pulling further clear of his rivals down the home straight to turn the race into a procession.

He won by six lengths from American raider Behren, who was five lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

Jockey Frankie Dettori.. left, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid, then the UAE Minister of Defence and Crown Prince of Dubai, and Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, celebrate after Dubai Millennium won the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba on March 25, 2000. AFP
Jockey Frankie Dettori, left, Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid, then the UAE Minister of Defence and Crown Prince of Dubai, and Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, celebrate after Dubai Millennium won the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba on March 25, 2000. AFP

Dubai Millennium returned to Europe and in his typical front-running style, trounced the field in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, winning by eight 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.

Tragically, in April 2001, Dubai Millennium contracted grass sickness and was put down.

His legacy continues, however, through his crop of 56 foals, including Dubawi, one of the most successful Godolphin stallions.

Updated: July 18, 2020 07:49 AM

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