‘It didn’t surprise my wife and daughter that I was part Neanderthal.’
That self-mocking zinger came from none other than the President of The United States, just not the one you think. It was, in fact, Bill Clinton, who opened the Stand Up for Heroes charity event in 2011 with a reference to a study that was confirmed and concluded only last week, as published in the journal Science, that as much as 2.6% of the DNA in modern humans was inherited from Neanderthals.
That percentage is identifiable in some more than others, though none of us are whiter than white, or brighter than bright, but still, 2.6, eh? To quote a cutting Twitter barb, it seems high.
The yearly stage play of the sales, where racing pulls up its democratic drawbridge, can sometimes feel like a prehistoric practice, with a caveman quality of some phallical fluctuation from the members of the great houses to determine the best by buying the best whatever the cost, and 2.6 has become something of a magic number there, too, for the DNA of Dubawi.
In the Grand Prix de Paris at Saint-Cloud in July, remembered as the blown nose for the ill-fated Permian as the Group 1 that got agonisingly away, the second-favourite and sixth-home that day was Parabellum, who had set a new record at the Arqana Sale in 2015 when Godolphin went to €2.6m to secure him. ‘He’s by the best stallion in the world,’ said John Ferguson, in open conflict and a shut eye towards Galileo, before Sheikh Mohammed’s policy change this year of shutting out Ferguson and opening the door to Galileo, via several premium purchases.
In the interim, at Tattersalls, Ferguson paid 2.6m guineas for another son of Dubawi, named Glorious Journey, who’s Timeform rated 105p after two runs unbeaten as a two-year-old. Fast forward twelve months, to the same Book 1 sale, and a Gosden-charged Godolphin finished second in a bidding race for the latest uncut Dubawi diamond, the colt, out of Izzi Top, snaffled by Varian for Sheikh Obaid for the going rate of 2.6m guineas.
And it clearly is the going rate, because Glorious Journey wasn’t the only Dubawi who fetched 2.6m guineas at Tatts last October, as Shadwell got in on the act, paying the same top dollar for a colt out of Zee Zee Top (dam of Izzi Top). ‘Sheikh Hamdan was keen to get a good Dubawi,’ explained Angus Gold, ‘and let’s hope this horse can run.’
He can. His name is Emaraaty and he can.
It’s a Dewhurst where we’ve probably got one star, in Expert Eye, and possibly two, adding in Emaraaty, both potentially magnificent, both pounding Magnificent. The one horse who has been in the jetwash of both classy colts, Magnificent was green and gullible when taught a lesson by Expert Eye – 11½ lengths adrift - on their debut in June at Newbury, but he was finely-tuned three races later when taking on Emaraaty back there last month: and what Emaraaty did to him was almost as savage as the beating from Expert Eye, in a different way.
In charge, in cruise control, in contrast to his wide-eyed debut, Emaraaty looked upon Magnificent with a patronising pity as that one emerged from the pack to try to play Emaraaty’s game, regarding him like a cat would an injured mouse, eventually putting him out of his misery by extending his stride but not his effort. Let alone scratch the surface, Emaraaty’s win didn’t even irritate the skin.
The time, overall and sectionally, was good if unremarkable in itself, but in the context of what he was asked to do, on his own, just enough, akin to an athlete qualifying for a final, it was impressive that he recorded a timefigure of 100 and covered the final sectional faster than par. The Newbury performance against the clock didn’t seal that he’s the real deal, but it did all the paperwork.
The Dewhurst on Saturday is a world away from a Newbury novice, and, ironically, if he needs a model to study for taking a hike in class in a fast, fluent stride, then Expert Eye is the boy. From the style to the substance and the splits, Expert Eye double-ticked every possible box as he glided away with the Vintage, looking special at the time and extra special since by the reflected glory of the fourth (James Garfield) and fifth (Seahenge) winning the Mill Reef and Champagne.
Expert Eye might be too hot for any juvenile to handle, let alone one straight out of junior school, so to speak, like a master and his inadvertent apprentice, but the force is awakening in Emaraaty, and the Dewhurst may be a duopoly, rather than the monopoly the market is suggesting.
If Emaraaty wins the Dewhurst, then the Guineas, then the Irish Guineas, then the St James’s Palace, then the Sussex, then the QEII, and then the Breeders’ Cup Mile, he’ll accumulate roughly £2.6m, meaning the price is right for the Dubawi army.