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Gentildonna heads to the winner's enclosure after the Sheema Classic

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2014 Dubai Sheema Classic Results

Date: 03/29/2014

The $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) is the last of four scheduled turf races held on Dubai World Cup night. A field of 15 older horses went 2410 meters (about 1 1/2 miles), one complete circuit of the turf oval at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) winner Magician was sent off as the 5-2 favorite over 3-1 second choice Gentildonna, winner of the Japan Cup (G1) but 6th in the Kyoto Kinen (G2) last out, and 6-1 third choice Twilight Eclipse, winner of the W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) and the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2).

Gentildonna and Cirrus des Aigles draw away in the stretch

Jockey Suguru Hamanaka sent 13-2 Denim and Ruby to the lead and she set fractions of 27.30, 50.87, 1:14.74, and 1:39.04 over the good turf while pressed by 38-1 Festive Cheer and Twilight Eclipse. On the far turn Ambivalent, who was fifth early, moved up to gain a short lead through 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.32. Gentildonna, who sat as far back as 8th early, closed with a rush, outfinishing 10-1 Cirrus des Aigles to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a new course record of 2:27.25. It was another 1/2 length back to Ambivalent third, while favorite Magician checked in 6th.

The race was marred by tragedy when Mars suffered a fatal heart attack just 3/16 of a mile into the race. He bolted and crashed into the outside rail on the backstretch, throwing jockey Richard Hughes over the fence before collapsing on the course.

Results Chart for the race from Emirates Racing Authority which includes a link to the video replay. Results for US wagering:

8th RACE MEYDAN - DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC (Group 1) 
12  Gentildonna                $8.60    $3.60     -
15  Cirrus des Aigles            -      $7.00     -
 7  Ambivalent                   -     $34.60     -

Running time - 2:27.25

$1.00 EXACTA 12-15               $38.20
$1.00 TRIFECTA 12-15-7        $1,965.30
$1.00 SUPERFECTA 12-15-7-13  $41,903.10

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Gentildonna in the winner's enclosure. Winning jockey Ryan Moore said, "It was very rough early on. I managed to get a nice slot and I was getting a nice enough run but I was just hemmed in a bit in the straight. But when I pulled her out she has quickened up very well. She has got an awful lot of heart."

Right: The trophy presentation for the Sheema Classic. Owner Shunsuke Yoshira (second from the right) said, "She is the best filly we have; we have three, but she is the best. What's next for us? We haven't decided but, after this win, we've got plenty of options now. On the last stretch, she lost her way, but after she went outside it was a fantastic finish. This is a very good place to win."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Gentildonna poses for the fans in the paddock. Trainer Sei Ishizaka said, "She is a very strong horse, that's all I have to say. She is better than [she was in] the Japan Cup win. It was a very tough race for her, but we are very happy that she managed to win it. A Japan Cup hat-trick? Sure, she's got a great chance to do that. That's our target now going forward."

Right: Gentildonna heads to the starting gate before the race. Moore added, "She felt a stronger filly today than when I rode her last, she felt as though she has out on a bit of condition. She got warm beforehand but she is obviously exceptionally talented, she has done more than I expected her today."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Cirrus des Aigles heads to the starting gate. Jockey Christophe Soumillon said, "He ran a fabulous race. I thought that he was going to win. Even when I saw Gentildonna, I thought she would find it difficult to catch us. When my horse quickened, he did it really well but (Gentildonna) is an outstanding champion and she beat us easily today. But I'm happy that he is once again a on the top of his game."

Right: Third place finisher Ambivalent was reluctant to load and needed the hood to get in the gate. Jockey Andrea Azteni said, "She has ran a blinder and I could not be more pleased with her. She travelled well and then quickened nicely. Turning in I thought I might win but I obviously could not see what was travelling in behind me. She has improved since last year and is unbelievably tough." Trainer Roger Varian added, "On that form she is going to be competitive in those good fillies' races in Europe in the summer. I hope we keep her going as there is definitely another big one to win with her."

horse racing
Sixth place finisher and beaten favorite Magician heads out to the track before the race.
Jockey Joseph O'Brien said, "He ran well."



Cavalryyman leads down the stretch

The $1 million Dubai Gold Cup (G2) is the longest race on World Cup night, contested at 3200 meters (about 2 miles) on the turf. Defending champion Cavalryman was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 15 off his win in the Nad al Sheba Trophy, the main local prep for this race. In to challenge him included 7-1 second choice Ernest Hemingway, unraced since 6th in the Irish St. Leger (G1) in September, and 8-1 third choice Joshua Tree, switching back to turf after finishing 6th in the Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (G1) on synthetic last out.

Jockey Ryan Moore sent Joshua Tree to the first first time by and he set the early pace for the first half of the race while stalked by Cavalryman, 16-1 Now We Can, and 50-1 Ralston Road. With a mile to go, Now We Can took over the lead briefly before tiring, as Ralson Road inherited the front on the far turn. Entering the stretch, 30-1 Certerach, who was off the pace early, moved up to take the lead at the 3/16 pole. Cavalryman attempted to challenge him, but Certerach held him off by a neck, completing the trip in a course record of 3.23.14 over the good turf. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Star Empire third. Jockey Silvestre De Sousa aboard Cavalryman claimed foul against Jamie Spencer aboard Certerach butt the claim was later withdrawn. horse racing

Results Chart for the race from Emirates Racing Authority which includes a link to the video replay. Results for US wagering:

10th RACE Maydan Racecourse - DUBAI GOLD CUP (Group 2) 
14  Certerach                 $62.20   $11.80     -
 7  Cavalryman                   -      $2.80     -
 2  Star Empire                  -      $4.40     -

Running time -  3:23.14

$1.00 EXACTA 14-7             $72.50
$1.00 TRIFECTA 14-7-2        $358.90
$1.00 SUPERFECTA 14-7-2-4 $11,567.10

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Certerach in the winner's enclosure. Winning trainer Michael Halford said, "He was third on his last run to Cavalryman and he was well beaten. That was a muddling race and although I felt we could improve, I didn't think he would improve enough to beat Cavalryman."

Right: Certerach heads back to the barn. Jockey Jamie Spencer added, "He got there a bit too early and I didn't know I'd won - I just heard the commentator say he won so I took his word for it. He's a huge horse and I got instructions from the trainer to just let the horse find his rhythm wherever you're happy. We were going slow and the reins were dangling but you knew when you woke him up he had plenty. For a big horse he's not stuck to the ground. He quickened once he got to the lead and thank God when the line came."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Cavalryman warms up. Jockey Silvestre De Sousa said, "He was unlucky the other horse came across us 200 yards out and it cost us the race." Trainer Saeed bin Suroor added, "He was unlucky but he ran well. The trip suits him but he was beaten by a better horse on the night. He tried hard but was unlucky tonight. We will take him back to England now."

Right: Third place finisher Star Empire in the walking ring. Jockey Christophe Soumillon said, "This wasn't going fast. Unfortunately I got bumped a few times in the beginning. It was a funny race to ride. My horse gave his best. One more time, he responded. It was a very tight run. The ground is good. There is a little bit of give."

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