Remembering Godolphin’s First Dubai World Cup Strike

More Dubai World Cup memories

  1. The Dubai World Cup meeting celebrates its historic 25th anniversary on March 27, with six Gr1 races and three Gr2s, including one of the world’s premier races, the $12 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline.

Today, we rewind to 1999, when Almutawakel, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, became the first Godolphin winner of the Dubai World Cup.

Almutawakel won in 1999 to become the first Dubai World Cup winner for Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor. (Pic- Dubai racing Club)

The phenomenon that is Godolphin and the magnificent successes enjoyed by the stable were well known throughout the world by the time the 1999 Dubai World Cup came around. However, one major title missing from their trophy cabinet was the race run on their home soil.

In 1999 it appeared they had their best chance yet, among their four pronged attack was High-Rise, winner of the previous year’s Derby at Epsom, Central Park, the Italian Derby winner, Daylami, a Classic winner of the French 2000 Guineas and Almutawakel, winner of the Gr1 Prix Jean Prat.

However, facing them was Silver Charm, back to defend his title, Victory Gallop, winner of the previous year’s Belmont Stakes, Gr1 winner Malek and the English representative Running Stag, who had proven himself up to the best in America.

Godolphin’s stable jockey Frankie Dettori opted for High-Rise, but admitted it was a tough decision and one that led to Richard Hills’ booking for Almutawakel. Richard Hills, a regular on the Emirates racing circuit for many seasons, achieved his biggest success in racing as Almutawakel proved too strong for Malek and Victory Gallop.

Just behind them was Central Park and then Daylami, who didn’t enjoy the best of passages, but still got to the line to finish fifth. The result provided Godolphin with their breakthrough win and it led to scenes never seen before on a racecourse

Almutawakel never recaptured his winning form after this success. He was placed twice at Gr1 level in America, however he does go down as one of a few horses to have won at the highest level on both dirt and turf and he will always be remembered as the horse that gave Godolphin their first success in the Dubai World Cup.

Once the first was achieved, they would return to the top of the podium on several occasions in the ensuing years.

Watch the video below to see Almutawakel Winning the 1999 Dubai World Cup:

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