Listed below is the start of DubaiRaceNight.com’s top ten “moments of the decade” in Dubai horse racing. Over the next few days, we will individually unveil the top five moments until we get to #1. Feel free to add comments at the bottom of each post and enjoy.
#10 – Ajtebi scores a homegrown double
The 2009 Dubai Duty Free and Dubai Sheema Classic could not have been more different races. In the end, the same jockey rode both winners as former camel jockey Ahmed Ajtebi became the first native Emirati to ride a winner on World Cup night. Just minutes after making all the running in a Duty Free blowout aboard Gladiatorus, Ajtebi flew home over the outside of the Sheema Classic field with Eastern Anthem to land consecutive $5 million races, this one, by a nose.
#9 – Asiatic Boy becomes first winner of the UAE Triple Crown
He arrived from Argentina with a win and a placing from two lifetime starts, when he left the Emirates, Asiatic Boy had his name in the record books. A Mike de Kock trainee, Asiatic Boy’s 2007 campaign included a conditions event win before landing the triumphant trio of sophomore events, the UAE 2000 Guineas, the Al Bastakiya, and the UAE Derby (video posted below).
#8 – Paolini and Right Approach provide a Duty Free deadheat
The judged stewed over the photograph of the 2004 Dubai Duty Free finish for what seemed like an eternity, but in the end, could not separate Paolini and Right Approach in a ding-dong stretch duel that saw both horses fly home over the field from the rear. While they exchanged bumps, no action was taken and the race stands as the only heater in the history of the World Cup meeting.
#7 – Curlin wins at the Dubai International Racing Carnival
This decade saw the growth of the DIRC into a top class race meeting where Dubai World Cup meeting contenders prepped. Prior to Curlin’s demolition of the 2008 Dubai World Cup, trainer Steve Asmussen sent the son of Smart Strike to get a feel for the local conditions, knowing that his performances tended to improve when making a second trip over a course. His win in an otherwise ordinary race gave the Carnival an added level of credibility on the global stage as an American Horse of the Year made his first start of a multiple graded stakes winning campaign amidst the dunes of Dubai.
#6 – Madjani makes it three-in-a-row
The purebred Arabian won three consecutive Dubai Kahayla Classics beginning in 2005, wholeheartedly dominating the breed for the decade. His dominance over his competition, a fiercely contested group, especially in the UAE, was respected by the Nad Al Sheba crowd when, in 2008, the 8-year-old failed to completed an unprecedented fourth win in the race. Mizzna, a mare, took a two length win but when Madjani returned to the walking ring to be unsaddled, the crowd obliged with an applause deserving a champion.