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Queensland trip the making of Dubai Moon

13 February 2024

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Jake Molloy Next Racing

By Jordan Gerrans

Prolific stayer Dubai Moon is all the rage in Victoria for his stunning winning sequence but trainer Frankie Stockdale says it is regional Queensland where the galloper learnt all his toughness.

The Stockdale-prepared Pride Of Dubai gelding has set tongues wagging of late by winning four straight races in just 13 days.

He collected the first of the triumphs on January 26 at Hanging Rock before grabbing two more shortly after and rounded out the four straight last Thursday at Pakenham.

Dubai Moon is likely to be shooting for a handful on the trot on Friday at The Valley under lights over 2500 metres.

Stockdale calls Pakenham home on the outskirts of Melbourne and around Victoria is where his gelding has done all his winning of late. 

But, for the larrikin trainer, he believes a seven month-long stay in the bush throughout the Sunshine State in 2022 was the making of the resurgent galloper.

“Look at him now, he is tough as nails,” the trainer said.

“He has travelled all around the bloody country just about, racing on different surfaces and different tracks. The travelling everywhere can be the makings of them for sure, it does them good. It does them the world of good.”

Dubai Moon has become known for his bold front-running style during his recent winning run and has won by a combined almost 16 lengths in his last four outings.

Prolific stayer Dubai Moon and trainer Frankie Stockdale at Longreach in 2022. Pictures: RLR Photography.

Stockdale and a team of his horses decided to go on a ‘working holiday’ through Queensland in the middle to later stages of 2022.

The journey began in Rockhampton, with stops along the way at Bowen, Ingham, the Atherton Tablelands before heading back south through Charters Towers and then on to Longreach.

Dubai Moon was one of five gallopers from the team who travelled up.

The Victorian horseman spent around six weeks at each location and just travelled north as the Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival rolled up the coast.

Popular galloper Dubai Moon arrived in the Sunshine State as a maiden and did not register his first victory of his career until he found a mile maiden at Townsville’s Cluden Park in the middle of June.

He raced as far north as Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands and did not taste victory again until he landed in the Central West in late September.

The bay gelding found a winnable race on Longreach Cup day before beginning to show signs of his winning ways a week later on the non-TAB circuit at Jundah.

“He won his maiden up there at Townsville over a mile and he couldn’t win another race until he went out in the middle there when he won a mile race at Longreach,” Stockdale recalls.

“Then he won an 1800 metre race at Jundah. I didn’t know much about Longreach or anything but we just saw races coming up so we decided to head out there for a look.

Emma Bell lifting Dubai Moon to victory at Jundah. Pictures: RLR Photography.

“We had no plans to go anywhere really, wherever there was race meetings we decided to go to for something different.”

Dubai Moon has been described as ‘the people’s champ’ and an iron horse through his unexpected four race-winning run in Victoria.

He was running at the picnics in Victoria without much luck before he burst to life late last month.

A $60,000 Benchmark 64 2500 metre contest on Friday evening appears to be his next target later this week.

“He came from nowhere really the horse and he has hit his straps now out of the blue really,” Stockdale said.

“It is magnificent. As they say you need to make hay while the sun shines, there is nothing wrong with him so we will keep going you know

“He is in good order and fit, we just need to keep ticking him over. We will keep going. It’s unbelievable really the way the horse is going, you wouldn’t have picked it a month ago that’s for sure.

“He was getting beaten at the picnics, he should have been winning races on his track work I thought but we put him over a few steeplechases to wake him up and now he’s bloody putting in.

“He wasn’t trying too hard that’s all.”

Stockdale would love to get back to Queensland for a long working holiday again this year.

If time permits, he would like to do it every year but it is a little tricky when juggling a team of horses.

The Stockdale team lived out of their horse truck and camped across the state.

“You can never get away in this game and the only way you can get away is if you take horses with us,” he said.

“You cannot have a rest in this caper with horses all the time.

“We had a rest and a holiday more or less with a few horses. It was magnificent, we loved it and the best thing we have done.”