Top Dirham was a striking chestnut gelding by Night Shift, foaled in 1998 and bred by Whitsbury Manor Stud. His name was a play on the phrase 'top dollar', with 'dirham' being the monetary unit of the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.
Top Dirham's dam, Miller's Melody, showed nothing as a racehorse in five starts but she was a very different proposition in the paddocks. In her stud career she produced seven individual winners, winning a collective total of 24 races, including Listed winner Metaxas and later in her career nine times winner by Monsieur Bond, Reginald Claude.
Top Dirham had originally been purchased as a yearling for 110,000 gns and put into training with Sir Michael Stoute under the ownership of Saeed Suhail. Winning twice in six runs he was sent to Tattersalls July Sales in 2002 which is where we picked him up for a mere 14,500 gns. He was purchased to run in the purple silks of local owner Steve Hull.
Beaten a long way in his first two starts over trips that were to prove a little too far, he was brought back in distance for his next race and this proved to be his making. Running over a mile at Thirsk the following season he landed a nice touch, taking the 'Calverts Carpets Hanidcap' ridden by Dale Gibson. Later the same month he won the prestigious Carlisle Bell, where he was sent off 9/4 favourite, again ridden by Dale Gibson.
Burdened with plenty of weight he found the rest of the season tough but bounced back at Ayr in July 2004, defeating Vicious Warrior by a head when bravely winning the Giles Insurance Stakes. Sent off as the 3/1 favourite he was ridden by Kieren Fallon.
Top Dirham's final two victories came two years apart, at Doncaster in 2005 and Thirsk in 2007. His win at Thirsk where he hold on to defeat Apache Point by a head in the 'Rectangle Handicap' proved to be the last time he would grace the winners' enclosure. It came as a surprise to many as he won on soft ground having previously recorded all of his six wins on good to firm.
He ran his last race at Beverley in September 2007, finishing fifth. Top Dirham had been the perfect summer horse, coming to hand in May and winning only in the months of June and July, and in doing so had given his owner and trainer some fantastic days out. His final career record showed prizemoney of over £71,000 and seven wins from 51 starts.