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“Look back into your mighty ancestors”-Shakespeare, Henry The Fifth
The new millennium started auspiciously, I was fortunate enough to be at Royal Ascot in the year 2000 for The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes to watch Dubai Millennium contest the race.
Dubai Millennium (Seeking The Gold – Colorado Dancer by Shareef Dancer) had famously been renamed, having originally been registered as “Yazeer”, because his owner Sheikh Mohammed had such a high opinion of him that he thought the horse could win the inaugural Dubai World Cup, which he did, his new name proving prophetic. The great horse had tasted defeat just once in nine previous attempts when his temperament had gotten the better of him resulting in an unplaced finish in the Epsom Derby.
So it was with a sense of eager anticipation that I lined up with the top hatted multitude to watch his pre race behaviour, both during the saddling up process and the pre race parade. What I saw was an equine colossus, a truly magnificent specimen of the modern thoroughbred, glowing with vitality, muscles gleaming, a tall horse with long clean limbs and tremendous scope. Best of all, he was imitating a perfect gentleman, my modest investment at 5/4 against seemed well justified.
There were only six runners but the Aga Khan’s multiple Gr1 winner Sendawar was well fancied to take home the prize. Dubai Millennium was taken straight to the front over the testing 10f and travelled smoothly in the lead, gradually extending his margin over the others. Approaching the home turn he was still travelling sweetly, the rest were all well off the bit being urged along by their riders, and the gap to Sendawar, hard ridden in second, was growing noticeably. A tremendous roar arose from the crowd, like thunder from a powerful storm, intensifying as the mighty thoroughbred galloped relentlessly and effortlessly to victory at what was to prove his final start before embarking on a stud career.
He was awarded an annual Timeform rating of 140, becoming one of only 13 horses to be rated 140 or higher in that illustrious publication’s history.
Roughly a decade later, at home in Australia, while scanning the overseas results one morning, Galileo’s son Frankel was recorded as the winner of the English 2000 Guineas overnight. He was an unbeaten 2yo but this first up win bought him to my attention, so the next step was to find the replay on Youtube.
After the field had travelled a furlong, my mouth opened, after another furlong it was half open and after another furlong my jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, how could this horse scorch off to such an enormous lead in a Gr1 Classic and still win. But win he did. The race caller’s voice reflected the occasion “At the bushes it’s Frankel 15 lengths clear” he screamed.
What we had just witnessed was the raw power of one of the greatest thoroughbreds of all time, power that his trainer Henry Cecil successfully harnessed as the horse matured, wisely bypassing The Derby, to see Frankel remain undefeated in 14 starts over distances ranging from 7f to 10 and a half furlongs. Frankel was awarded the highest annual Timeform rating ever at 147.
So much for my viewing experiences, but the tale of these two exceptional horses became intertwined as their stud careers developed. Their bloodlines, when crossed, have resulted in one of the most successful nicks and broad crosses of the new millennium. And for a very clear reason, as we shall see.
The geometry of pedigrees
Dubai Millennium, sire of Dubawi and Galileo, sire of Frankel are linked by a striking similarity in their pedigrees. Renowned pedigree analyst and bloodstock consultant Alan Porter coined the phrases “parallel pattern” and “reverse parallel pattern” to describe certain types of ancestries. These two methods have resulted in some notable affinities or what I call pedigree “nicks”, which are not to be confused with the more traditional one to one sire/broodmare sire nicks used in traditional analysis. Dubai Millennium and Galileo are bred on a reverse parallel pattern which has resulted in a very successful cross that has found its strongest expression via their sons Dubawi and Frankel, both British Champion sires.
Dubai Millennium is by a stallion bred on a Mr Prospector/Buckpasser cross, out of a Northern Dancer line mare, while Galileo has the reverse, he is by a Northern Dancer stallion out of a mare bred on the Mr Prospector/Buckpasser cross. The schematic pedigrees below, Table 1, show the relationships.
The broad Galileo/Dubai Millennium cross, which involves one strain of both stallions in opposite halves of the pedigree, either way, has the following stats (please note almost all cases of Dubai Millennium involve Dubawi as he only sired one crop) –
530 runners, 41 SW (7.7% SW/R), 8 Gr1 winners which are 19.5% of the SW. Around 12.5% GR1W/SW is average for a commercial population, anything over 15% is outstanding, it indicates that a very large proportion of the SW are elite.
Great figures for a broad cross, just to give you a comparison the broad cross involving inbreeding to Danehill is yielding around 2.5% SW/R and under 10% Gr1W/SW.
But the best is yet to come. Two bests actually.
The Frankel/Dubawi broad cross (not the sire broodmare sire nick, just one strain of each in either half of the pedigree) has the following stats –
43 runners, 7 SW (16.2% SW/R),
4 Gr1w which are 57% of the SW.
Wow! Spectacular, and all seven SW are Group winners.
And the last item is horses by Frankel out of Dubawi mares, which has the following stats –
30 runners, 5 SW (16.66% SW/R), 3 Gr1w which are 60% of the SW. Once again all the SW are Group winners. Wow again.
These are industry leading stats, among the best in the history of the breed. They are inevitably going to be watered down as the cross is tried more and more often with individuals of decreasing merit as time passes.
For the time being, if you own a Dubawi mare, ring your bank manager and book her in to Frankel if possible.
Footnote: It is significant that the pedigrees we are looking at involve two of the best performed, best bred thoroughbreds of all time, Galileo and Dubai Millennium.
The same can be said for their best sire sons Frankel and Dubawi. The various nicks, reverse parallel patterns and broad crosses being done here are all with premium bloodlines, premium genetic material. To further emphasise this point we need only consider the female lines of Galileo and Dubai Millennium themselves.
Galileo is out of Arc winner URBAN SEA who is the dam of three Gr1 winners, Galileo, Sea The Stars (also an Arc winner) and Black Sam Bellamy plus so many other black type winners and producers that you can’t fit her catalogue page on the catalogue page. Her dam Allegretta ditto.
Dubai Millennium’s dam Colorado Dancer is one of nine SW produced by the wonder mare FALL ASPEN whose progeny included four individual Gr1 winners and two Gr1 placegetters, another mare whose catalogue page is seemingly endless.