"What are the horses going to eat?" one of his trainers asked Sheikh Mohammed at the operation's outset "Sand?"Soon the Sheikh would be kicking it in their faces. He grew disenchanted with his trainers, whom he suspected did not respect his aptitude with horses as much as they respected his dirhams.When Sheikh Mohammed was a child in the 1950s, Dubai was little more than flat-topped houses round the Gulf water's edge, camels brought dates and and charcoal to the souq, and the businessmen were largely limited to the divers who put clips on their noses before descending for pearls.Almost all of what is modern Dubai was still desert and the old rules still applied. This season the skies turned dark as they flew in 340 horses to be stationed at the Newmarket premises of Godolphin Stables, Moulton Paddocks and Highfield Stables.It is a massive investment and one which has benefited many in these islands, yet, to this day, those in Godolphin still sense that British racing does not exactly put the kettle on when they return from a winter in the desert.Change comes very slowly on the turf and preparing horses in Dubai to run in Europe and around the world was initially considered an exercise in the bizarre by traditionalists. One by-product is that the crown prince clearly considers himself an Oscar Wilde of the dunes. He readily comes out with maxims which would not be out of place at the bottom of an American corporate photograph."In the race for excellence there is no finishing line," he has told us.
The dream must go on." Another favourite is: "Stagnation means regression, therefore you should strive to develop."Godolphin is a much developed beast since Balanchine gave them their first Classic success in the Oaks of 1994. It would be the final glory for the team established a decade ago to winter horses in the Emirates and then explode around the world from its Newmarket summer base."There have been ups and downs, but, in the last 10 years, we have enjoyed every minute of it," Sheikh Mohammed said "The whole thing is excitement. In 10 years' time Godolphin will be the same but better quality."Sheikh Mohammed is the third of the Maktoum brothers, Dubai's ruling family, but his siblings soon recognised that among them he was the chosen one This estimation did not damage his self-confidence. "He is a very good horse, but I'm not sure he is Dubai Millennium He was something out of this world I think of him always He was a friend. But this is very special for me, the only chance to win the Derby with a son of Dubai Millennium."It is also special as the Godolphin team which Sheikh Mohammed invented has yet to see its royal blue colours win a Blue Riband All the other Classics have been mopped up.
Dubai Millennium, the world champion of 2000, died after a single year at stud. Dubawi is the luminary of his only crop."He has the same eyes and head as his sire," Sheikh Mohammed said yesterday. Dettori was towards the rear of the field when he edged right on Royal Orissa, interfering with the Fran Berry-ridden Aversham, who took a nasty fall. Horse and rider escaped injury.Dettori's ban is to run from 13-18 June inclusive, which covers all five days of the high-profile meeting.Sheikh Mohammed, founder of the Godolphin operation, confirmed that his second-string jockey, Kerrin McEvoy, would take the bulk of Godolphin rides at the Royal meeting.. Sheikh Mohammed, the world's leading owner of thoroughbreds, has seen a few races in his time, but nothing has compared emotionally with what he will feel in this afternoon's Derby. Dubawi is the name of the colt invested with the Dubaian's high passion, a son of the horse the Sheikh invested with near mystical properties, the mighty Dubai Millennium.The fervour comes because there is only one shot at this. Off M40 at Letterston, 5m S of Fishguard.Men's ChampionshipR Burton 43J Pritchard 28Ladies' ChampionshipP Gundry 17A Goschen 17F Wilson 15. Frankie Dettori decided yesterday not to appeal against the six-day riding ban which rules him out of Royal Ascot at York.