The two-day Future Champions Festival starts in Newmarket on Friday but before any of the potential stars running at the Dubai-backed meeting have really begun their ascendancy it is those who have shone previously who will get top billing.
On Saturday Dubai World Cup winners African Story and Prince Bishop will lead a parade of former racehorses who are retraining following their retirement.
African Story provided Saeed bin Suroor with his record seventh success in the world’s most valuable race at Meydan in 2014, a victory which followed on from Prince Bishop 12 months previously.
The duo have since retired and, following a spell of simply eating grass, they are being retrained with a future discipline in mind. As an idea of what this might entail, Colour Vision, who won the 2012 Gold Cup at Ascot for Godolphin, is now nine years old and is being trained by rider Bev Seymour and international showjumper Philip Spivey and will compete at affiliate level this year. If all goes well the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead is the dream.
Papineau is the fourth horse to have been trained by Bin Suroor in the parade, and the 2004 Gold Cup winner performed an ambassadorial role to a local school recently as part of his new life.
“I am really looking forward to parading Colour Vision on Saturday,” Seymour, who is based in Newamrket and now owns Colour Vision, said. I’ve had the horse for eighteen months but he has really taken to showjumping.”
Much of this activity is done under the auspices of the Retraining Of Racehorses charity.
“As one of the largest racing stables and breeding operations in the world, Godolphin works tirelessly to take the lead in the lifetime care of horses,” Diana Cooper, Strategic Advisor for Charities at Godolphin, said. “Not every Thoroughbred, no matter how strong its bloodlines, is destined to become a top class racehorse. Even for successful horses, racing careers can be short.
“Much like RoR, Godolphin’s rehoming and retraining programme finds former racehorses new homes and new careers. With a little retraining, a Thoroughbred can make a perfect mount for many different equine disciplines — eventing, dressage polo or hunting.”
Dubawi was also trained by Bin Suroor and has taken to his new discipline as one of the world’s best sires with considerable aplomb. This has been underlined once again this week at the Tattersalls Book 1 auction in Newmarket, where he has been the top sire at the sale. Yesterday Angus Gold, racing manager for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, went up to 2.6 million guineas (Dh12.7m) for one of his progeny out of 2003 Prix l’Opera winner Zee Zee Top.
Last week in Chantilly Dubawi registered his first ever Group 1 juvenile winner when Wuheida won the Prix Marcel Boussac for Charlie Appleby and William Buick. The two men team up on Friday with Sobetsu, who faces seven others in the Group 1 Fillies Mile.
Sobetsu powered to a ten-length victory over the Rowley Mile last month and is considered the most likely winner ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Rhododendron and Hydrangea.
“I am very pleased with Sobetsu, she is proven on the track, which is a bonus, and I think that she has a very solid chance in the Dubai Fillies’ Mile,” Appleby said.
“Her and Wuheida are the two standout fillies in my yard, two very imposing daughters of Dubawi with hopefully bright three-year-old careers ahead of them. We sent Wuheida to France because Sobetsu was already a winner on the Rowley Mile and it allowed her an extra week of preparation time.”
“If Sobetsu could complete the Group 1 double it would be fantastic for the team and fantastic for Dubawi as well – he’s already a renowned worldwide stallion but it would give a new status to his reputation.”
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