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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sheikh Still Spending

Well, so much for my brilliant theory that the financial woes of the Emirate of Dubai might slow down the manic spending of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at horse auctions. His bloodstock agent John Ferguson was the winning bidder for five two-year olds in training, for a total of $5.2 million at the Fasig-Tipton two-year old sale at Calder on Tuesday. He accounted for all three of the million dollar sales, including $1.6 million for a son of Medaglia D'Oro, out of stakes winning Bayou Plans. The colt, named Cup O'Joe, is a half-brother to G1 winner Midas Eyes, and stakes winners Bayou's Lassie and Bourbon N Blues; three horses who prevailed mostly at a mile or less.

It was said that part of the purpose of Abu Dhabi's rescue of Dubai was to reign in its freewheeling ways.

Dubai will also have to "lose its ambitions to become the Monaco of the Gulf.." Abu Dhabi will insist on greater prudence and Dubai's go-getting rulers may also now feel defeated. [The Economist]
The Sheikh feel defeated? I don't think so. Of course, his equine empire, for all I know, may be completely separate and distinct from Dubai's affairs. Still, it wouldn't be surprising if some folks in Abu Dhabi feel a bit like US taxpayers when we saw our bailout-ees continue to spend lavishly. And besides paying absurd prices for unraced horses, the Sheikh seems to be carrying on as usual. Fresh off his latest equestrian triumph, The Poet was on to his latest escapade. A true man of the world indeed.

Still, I think the situation is worth watching. As I've said, one bailout is usually followed by another. And besides, Fasig-Tipton is owned by a "close associate" of His High Sheikhness, so he may have had an incentive to help prop up the results (though it takes two or more to tango at auctions).

- A reader checked in from Dubai to dispute the notion that construction on the Meydan racecourse has been halted, as I reported in this post. And his/her report would seem to be confirmed by this article here.


Anonymous said...

Another breakdown at Aqueduct today.

Steve Zorn said...

My instinct is that Ferguson's bidding at Calder was at least in part an effort to make the sale look good for a company now owned by Dubai. As for it taking two to tango; well, do we know who the underbidders were on those three million-dollar colts? Any chance it might have been a co-conspirator?

Anonymous said...

Dubai may not be what it was, but the Sheikh certainly has a few millon laying around to buy some horses.

Tone deaf for sure, but the man has a dream and he is not going to let a little depression get in his way even if it pisses off Abu Dhabi.

No reason to suspect anything other than him buying three nice colts at a 50% discount below what he would have had to paid last year.

Anonymous said...

No Godolphin Seven Stars competition this year, according to the last time I checked the Godolphin website. This is kind of sad - I have been unsuccessfully trying to win something for 5 or 6 years! As I recall, the grand prize was a trip to Dubai for the DWC and 7 nights in the Burj Al Arab.