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Unbeaten Rebel’s Romance prevails in UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial thriller


Rebel’s Romance continued a faultless start to his career with a battling victory in the UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial, with Global Heat also scoring decisively on the same card at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 14 January.

Switching to dirt following two All-Weather wins in the UK, Rebel’s Romance was slightly slow into stride before being held up in mid-division towards the outside of the field by William Buick.

The Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old went third at the top of the straight and quickened well to hit the front over a furlong from home. Mouheeb laid down a sustained challenge in the closing stages, with Rebel’s Romance holding on bravely for a head verdict as the first two home finished seven lengths clear in the mile contest.

Charlie Appleby said: “Our concern with Rebel’s Romance coming into this race was always his gate speed and how far back we would get. He was slowly away but William got him into a nice pitch and was travelling well. Once he angled Rebel’s Romance out, I was as confident as you could be around here.

“Rebel’s Romance galloped well to the line and William looked after him, giving him a nice education. It looked a bit tight on TV for the last 200 yards but it was hands and heels from William, who was just keeping him up to his work.

“He is a big, scopey son of Dubawi, who was a bit of a boy in the early part of his career. He was a bit late coming to hand and learned plenty on the job when winning nicely on his debut at Newcastle. He then won with a penalty around Kempton, which put himself on the flight here as a contender for the UAE Guineas.

“Whatever he does as a three-year-old is going to be a bonus and I think he is a horse who, if we mind him the right way, we can hopefully have some fun here for years to come.”

William Buick said: “I was very pleased with Rebel’s Romance, who adapted well to the dirt. Although his two previous wins had come on an artificial surface, running on a dirt track is still different. I thought he showed his class today and was always going to come on for the run, so it was a very pleasing performance overall.

“I could feel my horse getting a bit lonely in front but then he responded when the second came to him. He had something left in the tank and Mouheeb looked a good horse first time out at Jebel Ali. I think the first two set a good standard.

“He will potentially get further and it will be interesting to see what route they take with him – whether he will go for the Guineas or to Saudi Arabia for the Derby there. I guess all options are open but he had to take this step today to prove that he was effective on dirt.”

Global Heat booked his ticket for this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival with a clear-cut success under Pat Cosgrave in the evening’s 12-furlong turf handicap. After tracking the leaders in third for much of the race, the five-year-old was switched out entering the final quarter-mile and soon took charge, lengthening away to score by three and a half lengths.

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Global Heat is a nice horse, who had won over shorter in the UK, and a mile and a half looked to suit him well tonight. I talked to Pat Cosgrave afterwards and he said that a mile and six furlongs would be no problem in the future. There is another handicap over this trip at the Carnival on Thursday, 11 February and then we will see how we go.”

Pat Cosgrave added: “I thought that this was Global Heat’s race to take – he had top-weight and was the best horse in the field. I got a nice trip round and quickened up well but it was quite hard for me because he wasn’t doing a lot for me and was pricking his ears. Hopefully, he can get into a few Carnival races off bottom weight now.

“He is very unexposed and can only really go one way. The majority of Saeed’s horses are going to step forward from their first run this year, but he couldn’t do any more than he did today and might even get a bit further.”