Darley sire Dubawi will have a frontline candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November after his top-class colt Poet’s Voice won G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
Dubawi was expected to provide the winner of the Queen Elizabeth via even-money favourite Makfi but it was his second-stringer Poet’s Voice who upset the script at Ascot.
Poet’s Voice (3c Dubawi – Bright Tiara by Chief’s Crown) finished strongly to dethrone defending champion Rip Van Winkle (Galileo) by a nose with Red Jazz (Johannesburg) a half-length away in third place.
Makfi disappointed. A G1 winner of the English 2000 Guineas and Prix Jacques le Marois, he didn’t travel at any stage and finished a well-beaten fifth.
Winning jockey Frankie Dettori dropped Poet’s Voice out to last so he would switch off. Rip Van Winkle had established a five length break in the straight but was treading water at the furlong. The winner flew at the finish to nail the Coolmore horse right on the line.
“The key has been getting him to relax,” trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. “Physically he is now much better and mentally he is more mature. The target for him now is the Breeders’ Cup Mile.”
Sheikh Mohammed and bin Suroor have rated Poet’s Voice very highly since he romped home by 10 lengths second time out at Newmarket last summer. He also scored a front-running victory in the G2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
His 2010 campaign began with an unplaced efforts in the G1 French 2000 Guineas and G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot before turning the corner in his next outing when beaten a nose in the G3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury. He took another step forward when a four length winner of the Celebration Mile leading into the QEII.
Poet’s Voice is a half-brother to Japanese G1 winner Gold Tiara (Seeking the Gold) and Canadian stakes winner Queen’s Park (Relaunch).
The 2010 QEII made amends for the 2005 edition of the race when Starcraft narrowly defeated Dubawi. And this year’s QEII came just a week after Dubawi sired three stakes winners in Europe.
His colt Prince Bishop won the G3 Prix du Prince d’Orange at Longchamp, Majestic Dubawi landed the G3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes at Ayr and Astrophysical Jet completed the treble in the G3 Dubai Airport World Trophy at Newbury.
Trainer Mikel Delzangles was not making any excuses for the below-par effort of Makfi in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. The Dubawi colt had defeated of champion mare Goldikova (Anabaa) at his previous start in the Prix Jacques le Marois.
“He doesn’t like Ascot,” Delzangles explained. “Christophe (Soumillon) never felt happy any time in the race. He has only been beaten twice in six starts and both losses have been at Ascot.”
Darley decided to give Dubawi a year off shuttling to Australia this year. His first southern crop included the stakes winning fillies Cellarmaster (G3 NZ Eclipse Stakes) and Golden Millennium (Listed AJC Keith Mackay St).
Cellarmaster resumed this season with an unlucky third in the Listed Wanganui Guineas. She will be one of the favourites for the G1 NZ 1000 Guineas in November.