Presenting, Kings Theatre and Flemensfirth are familiar names to those who take an interest in successful Jumps sires, but it’s a little surprising to see the name of Dubai Destination making such an impact this winter.
Better known for his exploits as a Flat racing stallion, especially as a Damsire for the likes of Golden Horn and Postponed, he is currently having plenty of success in the National Hunt sphere, with a high-profile winner at Newbury displaying his mounting influence.
On the racecourse he proved a talented colt for Godolphin, exciting as a juvenile when defeating Rock Of Gibraltar in the Champagne Stakes, though sadly only running once as a three-year-old. His finest performance came at four, when romping to victory in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Two disappointing runs followed, and he was retired to stud.
After a largely disappointing time at Dalham Hall Stud, he moved to Ireland, and settled at Glenview in Cork. Up until August this year, it was also home to leading Jumps Stallion Presenting. Sadly, the champion sire died at the age of 25, having been responsible for numerous high-class jumpers including, Denman, War Of Attrition and more recently Yorkhill.
Dubai Destination is unlikely to come close to the achievements of his former stud inmate, though he’s having a decent spell of late.
That Newbury success came in the John Francome Novices’ Chase, with Colin Tizzard’s Elegant Escape getting the better of the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton. It was a cracking win for the five-year-old, who had previously been beaten by Ballyoptic in testing ground at Exeter. Better ground may prove essential for the young chaser, and there’s no doubting having watched the race again, that this fella will strengthen plenty during this campaign and beyond. He’s an exciting prospect.
Coole Cody is another of the offspring that looks to have a bright future. Trained by Michael Blake, this six-year-old has won all three outings this term including a terrific victory at Cheltenham last time, when a 25/1 shot carting top-weight in an intermediate hurdle. That really was a stonking performance and it would come as no surprise to see him back at Prestbury Park in March.
The runner-up that day was yet another by Dubai Destination in the Joseph O’Brien-trained Mischievious Max. The ultra-consistent four-year-old has now finished second in five of his seven hurdle starts. He’s also worth keeping an eye on, as his two victories under rules have come on a sound surface. He’ll likely improve for spring ground, and could be one for a valuable handicap at one of the festivals.
Ben Pauling is having a great time of it, with High Bridge and Willoughby Court leading the way. He too has an exciting Dubai Destination youngster in the yard, with the Munir and Souede owned Kildisart proving a talented young hurdler. He’s a beautiful looking gelding, who’s sure to make an exciting chaser down the line. The owners certainly know what they’re doing, and may have purchased yet another with star potential. His win at Ascot last time was impressive.
In mid-October there was a clash of DD youngsters in the north, with Donald McCain’s Derintoher Yank getting the better of the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Dubai Angel. The pair look sure to become successful novice chasers at distances from two to two-and-a-half miles. The latter is entered at Wetherby on Saturday and is yet to finish out of the frame in all nine starts under rules.
Whatever these youngsters produce during the winter, I’d expect improvement as spring arrives. Elegant Escape flies the flag, but has plenty of support from a glut of talented Dubai Destination progeny.