Rebel’s Romance enters Kentucky Derby picture with G2 UAE Derby rout
Rebel’s Romance added his name to an exciting list of Godolphin contenders for this year’s Kentucky Derby with a dominant victory in the G2 UAE Derby at Meydan, UAE, on Dubai World Cup Night, Saturday, 27 March.
The Charlie Appleby-trained son of Dubawi, stepping up to an extended nine furlongs after coming home fourth over a mile in the Saudi Derby in February, travelled wide throughout and was held up in 12th of the 14 runners by William Buick early on.
Rebel’s Romance made a significant move forward around the field with five furlongs to race and cruised up to third at the top of the home straight. The Godolphin homebred reeled in New Treasure soon after before heading long-time leader Panadol over a furlong from home.
He forged clear inside the final furlong, coming home five and a half lengths clear of Panadol to take his career record to four wins from five starts.
Charlie Appleby said: “I think the biggest attribute for Rebel’s Romance today was that he was going to stay this distance. We were always confident that stepping up in trip would be his strength We have all seen year after year that, for European horses, the experience they gain from racing on the surface here is so invaluable.
“He has had his two starts on dirt and travelled so well into the race today. I saw half of the field coming under the pump down the back and felt that Rebel’s Romance was coming good at the right time.
“It’s great for the team and, most importantly, it’s great for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to have a lovely horse like this on World Cup Night. I am delighted that we have managed to put one in the back of the net.
“The Kentucky Derby will be a nice conversation to have over the next 10 days. Thankfully, Godolphin has a very special horse over there in Essential Quality, who looks as though he might have the Kentucky Derby within his grasp. The long-term aim with Rebel’s Romance will be to work back from next year’s Dubai World Cup.”
William Buick added: “It’s a fantastic training performance by Charlie and the team. This horse has grown up and taken every step very well. Charlie was adamant that we miss the UAE 2,000 Guineas and go to Saudi Arabia instead and he learned a lot out there, with the pace difference in the race.
“We always knew today that we were never going to be in the hunt going into the first turn and we were quite happy with our draw because we knew he would come into his own down the back. He came good so quickly under me that I had to contain him a little bit. He ran out a very impressive winner and it was a very, very good performance.”