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Dubai Millennium Remembered In Godolphin Gallery 23/03/06

Dubai Millennium, the greatest horse to race for Godolphin, is remembered by a new life-size portrait which was unveiled on Thursday morning (March 23) by H. E. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum at the Godolphin Gallery, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai.

The statue, commissioned by Dubai International Capital and modelled by Madame Tussauds in London, is a gift to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Godolphin's founder and driving force.

It recreates the moment when Dubai Millennium, with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, passed the winning post for his greatest victory in the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba in 2000.

He put up a devastating performance, leading all the way to win in a record time of 1m 59.50s which still stands for the 10 furlongs on dirt at the Dubai course.

Dubai Millennium had won nine of his 10 starts when injury ended his racing days in August, 2000. Tragically he died from grass sickness on April 29, 2001, during his first season as a stallion at Sheikh Mohammed's Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, England.

Hundreds of people attended the unveiling at the Godolphin Gallery, which is open to visitors from 9am to 5pm seven days a week and up to 8pm on racedays.

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, commented: "This tremendous portrait is an invaluable addition to the Gallery and represents everything that Godolphin stands for."

Saeed bin Suroor, who trained Dubai Millennium, is delighted with the tribute to the horse he remembers so well.

He said: "It is great, looking like the real Dubai Millennium, and will help preserve the memory of this tremendous horse forever."

Frankie Dettori, Godolphin's main retained jockey, had to pose for five hours in his crouched riding position for the modellers from Madame Tussauds.

"I normally crouch for a couple of minutes in a race so it was quite taxing. The horse was very special and I was part of the Dubai Millennium fairytale. So to have something like this in the Godolphin museum is very good."

He donated the saddle, boots and silks which are part of the unique artwork.

Johanna Swann, curator of the Godolphin Gallery, added: "The morning was a great success and we are very pleased to help Dubai International Capital and Madame Tussauds by providing the location to display this outstanding representation of Godolphin's greatest horse."

The project involved 30 people, including seven sculptors, five moulders, six finishing artists, four engineers, a prop maker and wardrobe artist, from Madame Tussauds and took three months to complete.

The creative team was led by Simon Hart, the project manager, and Jim Kempton, the principal sculptor, who jumped at the chance to record such a definitive moment in sport. It was the first time they had modelled a horse and jockey.

Madame Tussauds has been creating wax portraits for over 200 hundred years and modelled all manner of subjects from the Queen of England to David Beckham, from Sir Winston Churchill to Britney Spears.

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