Rebel’s Romance proves unstoppable in G1 Dubai Sheema Classic


Rebel’s Romance recorded a fourth G1 victory as he dominated a stellar field in the Dubai Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup Night, Saturday, 30 March.

The 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf hero headed into the 12-furlong Meydan showpiece on the back of impressive wins in the UK and Qatar but was taking on a field that included nine other G1 winners from Japan and Europe.

Having raced prominently when easily taking Qatar’s G3 H H The Amir Trophy, Rebel’s Romance was again towards the fore throughout as he raced in a half-length second on the outside of Point Lonsdale.

Point Lonsdale went on into a three-length lead entering the back straight, with the Charlie Appleby-trained Rebel’s Romance continuing in a clear second as the field strung out. Third-placed Shahryar also opened up daylight over the rest of the field and the front three held a significant advantage turning for home.

Rebel’s Romance quickened on the outside of Point Lonsdale passing the two-furlong pole and the Dubawi six-year-old forged ahead for William Buick approaching the final furlong.

Liberty Island, Justin Palace and Emily Upjohn attempted to close late but Rebel’s Romance never looked in any danger and hit the line two lengths clear of Shahryar, adding to his previous Dubai World Cup Night success in the 2021 G2 UAE Derby.

Charlie Appleby said: “To have a winner tonight, on what has been a really international night, to get one on the board for Godolphin and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is very pleasing.

“William told me he had a plan, but I told him not to tell me, then I couldn’t roast him if it went wrong! We were confident the right thing to do was go forward and heading down the back, I felt confident because I knew the fractions weren’t strong. William knows this track so well and did everything right.

“We were confident Rebel’s Romance was in as good a place as we could get him. He went to Kempton and then had a great ride in Qatar from William. He has travelled a lot but we were confident he was at his best. Plan A was to go forward to give the horse the best chance to run his best race.”

William Buick added: “Rebel’s Romance showed in Qatar what a versatile horse he is. His best form has usually been when he is held up but I tried something new in Qatar. I was keen today to adopt a similar tactic and I got a lovely slipstream from the leader.

"He is a very good horse on his day and he showed that today. I’m absolutely delighted, he’s a great horse and I’m so glad he’s back to his best.

"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed wants to see the best horses come to Dubai and the best horses are here. These races are incredibly hard to win so of course I’m incredibly happy.

"It’s great for the team, great for everybody. It’s great to be here and it’s great to ride a winner. It’s an amazing training performance and a great job by the whole team. I’m in the fortunate position to be able to ride these horses."