what a night! If at all sports buffs want something to
talk about for the next few weeks, or even more, they
can always revert to the night of all nights when Godolphin’s Electrocutionist sent the current riveting
through the large gathering of race fans at the Nad Al
Sheba racecourse on the last weekend of March.
Tipped heavily by bookmakers as the firm favourite to
win the race, Electrocutionist had nothing going in his
favour till those very last seconds along the straight
of the prestigious $6 million feature race. Two days
before the running, he had been drawn to start the 2000
metres race from a disadvantageous Gate number one. The
bookmakers backed Electrocutionist to the hilt narrowing
down the odds and making him the 11/10 favourite to win.
Jockey Frankie Dettori was ill at ease following the
post position draw. But he did the next best thing any
human in his place might not have easily done – he kept
his faith in the animal – an illustrious five-year-old
son of Red Ransom.
what a way he delivered, handled by an astute Dettori,
smacking the field of 10 other runners into submission
to give the Godolphin Stables a win to cherish for a
long, long time.
For most of the race, the field was very much open with
the American challenger Brass Hat looking strong along
with the Jeremy Noseda- trained Wilko as they nosed into
the final turn. But Dettori had other plans as he
suddenly guided Electrocutionist into an empty space for
that final, enthralling burst of speed. “Till then,
everything had gone wrong for us. We had thought about
so many things, but they simply got so muddled two days
before the race after we were drawn from Gate 1. This
bad luck followed us even during the initial moments as
he missed the kick,” Dettori admitted later.
The Italian jockey had all reason to be apprehensive
about his horse, incidentally bred and trained in his
native Italy till he was bought over by Godolphin.
Electrocutionist was making only his second career start
on dirt, and this inexperience seemed to show when he
was not the smartest one out at the start gate as he got
caught against the rails behind four horses – three of
whom were the feared American raiders and the fourth -
one of two challengers from Japan.
But in a split second, Dettori extracted his horse into
a tiny bit of space on the wide outside as the Godolphin
star found his rhythm to finish with a grand flourish
ahead of Brass Hat and Wilko. “He’s proved what a classy
horse he is with that final burst. This is my 12th
year in Dubai and for us to win here means so much for
this country and its people,” Dettori stated.
Electrocutionist’s win was just the icing on the cake
for Dubai. There were other things to gloat about as
well with Madjani and Discreet Cat being the pick of the
lot among horses from Dubai.
It was Madjani who set the ball rolling for Dubai horses
in the opening Kahayla Classic as he demolished the
field with a superb run under Richard Hills to hand
owner Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler
of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, his
fourth successive win in this premier race for Purebred
Arabians. This was also the second consecutive Dubai
Kahayla Classic win for the horse and owner. Trainer
Gillian Duffield completed her hattrick as Djelmane and
Hasna De Faust completed the UAE domination in this
A top quality field of international runners that had
threatened the race withered away after Madjani’s early
burst. The international runners seemed out of place and
looked woefully short of form in unfamiliar conditions.
Perhaps, the biggest disappointments of these was the
Jean Pierre Totain-trained Amperor Des Cedres after
arriving with a strong reputation on the back of four
successive wins, including two of dirt. The Dominique
Akel-bred and trainer five-year-old finished second from
last in the 11-horse field.
Another strong contender, French mare Djezica finished
last while Arsene Rupin came in eighth. The only
newcomer to salvage some sort of pride for the foreign
contingent was Udjidor De Bozouls after a finish in
The UAE Derby was the ideal stage for Discreet Cat to
give Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor an indication
that he’s prepared to take on bigger challenges in the
future. Touted as a possible prospect for Godolphin’s
Kentucky Derby dream, Discreet Cat with Dettori aboard
annihilated his rivals to win the Derby with ease – a
cool six lengths ahead of fellow stablemate Testimony.
There was success for the Japanese as well as Flamme De
Passion with Yutaka Take powered into third place ahead
of the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Invasor.
But the race and the moment belonged to the two horses
from the Godolphin stables. English bookmakers William
Hill responded immediately making Discreet Cat a 5/1
favourite for the Kentucky Derby.
However, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE
and Ruler of Dubai, who is the driving force behind
worldwide Godolphin stable, stayed cautious. “We’ll
still have to see how he comes out of the race, and then
we will decide on whether he goes to the Kentucky
Derby,” he said.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s racing manager, went a step
forward. “He’s a horse that going places and we are
really excited. It’s very important to put a victory on
the board, and it’s lovely that it was this horse
because he’s the future. Electrocutionist is the
present, but Discreet Cat is the future,” Crisford
There were other winners as well. This, despite the fact
that the large contingent of Japanese race enthusiasts
watched in disbelief as their dirt champion Kane Hekili
– literally ‘Lord of Thunder’ in Japanese – succumbed to
the sheer pace and finishing power of Electrocutionist
and the couple of American challengers on the final
Clearly the Japanese had come with the intent to conquer
in Dubai… and they nearly did as they trooped off with
two clean wins – Utopia taking the Godolphin Mile and
Heart’s Cry breezing away with the Dubai Sheema Classic.
Those two wins were seen like a premonition of other
good things yet to happen as the nippy squad of Japanese
journos hinged a discreet warning smile while passing
by. They had reason to do so as jockey Yutaka Take
bolted off early in the Godolphin Mile to guide Utopia –
a six-year-old son on Forty Niner to score the first
upset of the night. Pre-race favourite Jack Sullivan did
come up with a late run, but could only finish in third
behind second placed Win River Win from Turkey.
Utopia’s owner Makoto Kaneko was ecstatic after
realizing a dream in their first concerted assault at
the world’s richest horse race. “I’ve never felt this
good before,” Kaneko admitted.
“I think it’s worth coming all this way from Japan for
just this moment,” he beamed after receiving his purse
of $600,000 from Khalid Baker of Jebel Ali International
“He’s powerful and the best miler here. We came here to
showcase what our horses were capable of, and I think we
have done a pretty good job,” blurted jockey Take.
Further success awaited the raiders from Japan as
Christophe Lemaire guided Heart’s Cry to success and the
top prize of $3 million in the Sheema Classic sponsored
by Nakheel. Collier Hill, trained by Alan Swinbank came
in second ahead of Mike de Kock’s Falstaff.
If at all the Americans and the English tasted any sort
of success that came only during the later part of the
race night. First, it was Proud Tower Too winning the
Gulf News-sponsored Golden Shaheen Group One sprint for
thoroughbreds over 1200 metres to give the Americans
their only success, and then it was David Junior asking
to be taken seriously by winning the Dubai Duty Free
Group One for Thoroughbreds.
Historically, the Americans have dominated the Golden
Shaheen sprint. This time it was no different as the top
four finishers were all American horses led by Proud
Tower Too and followed by Thor’s Echo, Jet West and
Captain Squire. It was a special sweet moment for jockey
David Cohen, a one-time junior Olympian speedskater.
“He’s given me my first major Stakes win and now he’s
handed me with my first Group 1 win. You can’t get any
better than this,” Cohen smiled satisfyingly.
The Dubai Duty Free race, a genteel precursor to the
Dubai World Cup, belonged entirely to David Junior, a
four-year colt trained by Brian Meehan. It was an upset
of sorts for this young horse, the son of Pleasant Tap
after his 10-furlong Champion Stakes win against older
horses in Newmarket earlier this year.
All in all, the night belonged to Dubai and its people
who exulted and broke into instant celebrations much
before Electrocutionist crossed the line. But it also
belonged to the Japanese, the Americans and the English…
it belonged to all. And that’s precisely what this race
is meant to foster - a culmination of the best in the
horse racing world. And that is exactly what it turned
out to be… electrifying, by that one lone
Race 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic: 1. Madjani (2 minutes,
16.29 seconds); 2. Djelmane; 3. Hasna De Faust.
Race 2 Godolphin Mile: 1. Utopia (1 minute, 35.88
seconds); 2. Win River Wi; 3. Jack Sullivan.
Race 3 UAE Derby: 1. Discreet Cat (1 minute, 48.59
seconds); 2. Testimony; 3. Flamme De Passion.
Race 4 Dubai Golden Shaheen: 1. Proud Tower Too (1
minute, 09.86 seconds); 2. Thor’s Echo; 3. Jet West.
Race 5 Dubai Sheema Classic: 1. Heart’s Cry (2 minutes,
31.89 seconds); 2. Collier Hill; 3. Falstaff.
Race 6 Dubai Duty Free: 1. David Junior (1 minute, 49.65
seconds); 2. The Tin Man; 3. Seihali.
Race 7 Dubai World Cup: 1. Electrocutionist (1 minute,
45 seconds); 2. Brass Hat; 3. Wilko.
Fashion at the Races
Box of facts
This was the fifth World Cup winner for Godolphin
trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, the previous four being
Almutawakel (1999), Dubai Millennium (2000), Street Cry
(2002) and Moon Ballad (2003).
This was the third time that jockey Frankie Dettori was
winning the Dubai World Cup. His two previous wins came
on Dubai Millennium (2000) and Moon Ballad (2003).
Hailed as one of the best jockeys in the sport today,
Frankie Dettori even has his own range of frozen pizzas,
ice cream and men’s after-shave.
Electrocutionist’s win also broke a sort of jinx for the
Dubai-based Godolphin Stables after American raiders
such as Pleasantly Perfect (2004) and Roses In May
(2005) had held sway for the past two years.
Electrocutionist became the fourth horse to win after
starting from Gate No.1 on race night. The other three
were Madjani (Dubai Kahayla Classic), Utopia (Godolphin
Mile) and David Junior (Dubai Duty Free).
Madjani’s win in the Dubai Kahayla Classic gave owner
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of
Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, his fourth
successive triumph in this premier race for Purebred
The Japanese, who had threatened to run away with the
main race with the much-hyped Kane Hekili, did
comparatively well – clinching two wins on the night,
Utopia in the Godolphin Mile and Heart’s Cry in the
Dubai Sheema Classic.
During the 11-year history of the Dubai World, it has so
far been a two-way battle between horses from Dubai and
the United States – Dubai has won it six times while the
US has won it the remaining five times.