Jockey Frankie Dettori does his flying dismount after winning the Dubai Sheema Classic aboard Rewilding.
The $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) is the last of three turf races held on Dubai World Cup night. A field of 14 older horses went 2410 meters (about 1 1/2 miles), one complete circuit of the turf oval at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Goldolphin-owned Rewilding was sent off as the 3-1 favorite, unraced since finishing 6th in the St. Leger (G1) at Doncaster in September after winning the Great Voltigeur (G2) at York. In to challenge him included 5-1 second choice Champ Pegasus from the U.S., winner of the San Luis Obispo (G2) at Santa Anita last out, and 6-1 third choice Redwood, second in the Hong Kong Vase (G1) last out after finishing third in the Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine.
Rewilding draws off in the stretch
Jockey Christophe Soumillon sent 7-1 Rulership to the lead first time past the stands and led the tightly packed field most of the way around, while being pressed by 14-1 Laaheb and 18-1 Deem down the backstretch. Frankie Dettori kept favorite Rewilding in mid-pack. Turning for home, the pacesetters continued to lead but Rewilding came through to pass them as they tired, taking over the lead from Rulership at the 1/8 pole, then drew off late to win by 3 1/4 lengths over late-running Redwood in 2:29.01 over good turf. It was another 1/4 length back to 22-1 Calvados Blues third.
7th RACE MEYDAN - DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC (Group 1) 8 Rewilding $7.80 $3.00 - 5 Redwood $4.20 - 4 Calvados Blues $14.40 - Running time - 2:29.01 $1 Exacta 8-5 $28.20 $1 Trifecta 8-5-4 $476.10 $1 Superfecta 8-5-4-1 $3,785.20
Left: In the winner's enclosure with owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in blue, trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni in white, and jockey Frankie Dettori. Dettori said, "It was just a fantastic feeling. He got me out wide early on and was a bit lazy, but won really well in the end. Him being fresh is a good thing. He hit a flat part at the top of the stretch, but once we worked through the gears – he ran on well."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Sheema Classic.
Left: Rewilding warms up before the race.
Right: Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni holds Rewilding wearing his new winner's blanket. Al Zarooni said, "He's a really big horse and that will take a lot out of him. We have to treat him very carefully like a filly. Simon Crisford and the boss will decide (his next start), but there are plenty of options including the Coronation Cup."
Left: Second place finisher Redwood heads out to the track before the race. His jockey Michael Hills said, "Fantastic. It's a huge run from the horse. I had to work to keep position on him on the turn but I think there's still more big races in this horse. I couldn't give him the breather I wanted because I had to hold my position, but it was a very honest run and he'll improve for it."
Right: Third place finisher Calvados Blues in the paddock before the race. His trainer Roger Varian said, "We had a run for our money.He took the trip very well so an international campaign in the autumn might be the thing after we've aimed at one or two nice summer prizes." Jockey Ahmed Ajtebi added, "Some slow horses in front of me stopped and I didn't want to push Frankie out because we're a team. I tried to go inside but they closed the gap on me."
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