Nineteen horses still remain eligible Thursday for the UltimatePoker.com Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), the first British classic of the season at Newmarket on Saturday. Despite the sizable field, all eyes will be on the unbeaten colt, Dubawi.
From the only crop of the ill-fated Dubai Millennium, a classic victory would be one of the sweetest--perhaps even the sweetest--yet tasted by owner Sheikh Mohammed.
Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai Millennium (Seeking the Gold
--Colorado Dancer, by Shareef Dancer) was Horse of the Year in 2000 in the UAE and champion 3-year-old colt and older male in England. He stood only one season at stud, 2001, before dying from grass sickness while standing in England.
Out of the stakes-winning Deploy mare Zomaradah, Dubawi was three-for-three last year, winning the Dunnes Stores National Stakes (Ire-I) and the Weatherbys Superlative Stakes (Eng-I). Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Dubawi will be ridden by Frankie Dettori in the race worth £320,000.
Dubawi has one recent trend to overcome--he is set to go off the shortest-priced favorite since Xaar was beaten at odds-on in 1988 and only one favorite has been successful in the last 15 years. That was Zafonic at 5-6 in 1993.
The ground on the Rowley Mile remains "good-to-firm" after Newmarket missed the forecast showers Wednesday afternoon. Fine, warm weather is in the weekend forecast.
Lisa Hancock, Newmarket's managing director, said: "With a fantastic weather forecast and temperatures set to hit 21C (70 degrees), we're all set for a memorable UltimatePoker.com Guineas Festival this weekend
"The word on the streets of Newmarket is that Dubawi will not be beaten and one can sense a growing feeling we might be going to witness a very special performance here Saturday," she said.