Rebel's Romance Leaves Rivals In the Doha Dust

Rebel's Romance | QREC photo


Godolphin's globetrotting  Rebel's Romance (Ire) (g, 6, Dubawi {Ire}–Minidress {GB}, by Street Cry {Ire}) entered Saturday's $2.5-million G3 H.H. The Amir Trophy as one of three Group 1 winners in the field of 11, yet still had something to prove.

Winless since causing a mild surprise in the 2022 GI Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland, the homebred failed–for a variety of reasons–in two tries in America last summer, but hinted at a return to his best with an eye-catching victory at Kempton in December. He was a somewhat unexpected entry for this newly upgraded race, but his class was on full display as he dispatched of the best field ever assembled in Qatar with complete authority.

Drawn gate 10, Rebel's Romance was ridden positively by William Buick and sat three deep outside Japan's North Bridge (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) and Satono Glanz (Jpn) (Satono Diamond {Jpn}) passing the stands for the first time and was allowed to edge in front with a circuit to travel. Bowling along, ears straight-forward, turning down the back of the track at Al Rayyan, Rebel's Romance dropped anchor, and things got a bit messy behind him as a result, with North Bridge hard on the bridle for Yasunari Iwata, and Simca Mille (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) also firing up from midfield.

Rebel's Romance was holding firm on the run around the second bend, but Joao Moreira began to feel for Zeffiro (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) 600 metres out and he looped the field, appearing a real threat. The G1 Hong Kong Vase runner-up had dead aim on the front-runner a furlong and a half from home, but drifted badly towards the stands, and Rebel's Romance ran out a comfortable winner. Satono Glanz outfinished North Bridge for third, while defending champion Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) finished off his race soundly to be fifth.

“He really enjoyed it,” Buick said. “It wasn't plan A, but Charlie was keen to go forward from stall 10. He relaxed lovely in front. It wasn't so long ago he won a Breeders' Cup Turf, so he seems to be back to his best and it's great to come to Qatar and ride a winner. It's a big festival and I'm absolutely delighted. That was a good race, with Japanese horses, Irish and English. He had to be somewhere near his best and I'm pretty sure he was.”

Added Appleby: “We were delighted with Rebel's Romance. It was a great ride by William, and we felt the horse was back to his best heading here following a confidence-boosting win at Kempton Park.

“This is an event that is growing with importance every year and the strength of today's field showed how its status is increasing on the international stage. We are very proud to be able to support these big races on behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and team Godolphin.

“I would imagine that we will look towards the Dubai Sheema Classic for Rebel's Romance, and then possibly head back out to America for the summer.”

The only treble Group 1 winner in the field, Rebel's Romance had gone winless since the Breeders' Cup. A minor issue dictated that he raced in last year's G1 Dubai Sheema Classic without a prep and he was duly beaten into a distant seventh by world champion Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) at Meydan last March. Sent to America over the summer, he clipped heels in the GII Bowling Green S. at Saratoga in July, throwing Richard Mullen heavily to the turf, and caught unsuitably easy ground during an abnormally wet period in New York when fourth at odds-on in the GI Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in October. Forced to regroup with a Breeders' Cup bid now out of play, he returned to action with a visually impressive victory in the Listed Wild Flower S. over the Kempton all-weather in December. From here, all roads lead back to Meydan in six weeks' time where the competition could include Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Japanese Triple Tiara heroine Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}), among others.

Pedigree Notes:

Rebel's Romance is one of two potential starters on World Cup night for his stakes-placed dam, whose exciting son Measured Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}) took out this year's G1 Jebel Hatta, customarily a pointer to the G1 Dubai Turf.

Second dam Short Skirt was a leading member of her generation in 2006, defeating hot favourite Alexandrova (Ire) (Sadler's Wells) in the the G3 Musidora S. at York for Sir Michael Stoute before finishing third to that foe in the G1 Epsom Oaks. Short Skirt was subsequently second to Alexandrova in that year's G1 Yorkshire Oaks and was purchased by John Ferguson for 1.4 million guineas at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale a few months later. Short Skirt produced five winners from eight to race, including G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy hero Volcanic Sky (GB) (Street Cry {Ire}) and the dam of Japanese listed winner and Group 3-placed Due Process (GB) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}).

There is a further connection to Japan under the third dam, as Much Too Risky's champion daughter and G1 St Leger third Whitewater Affair (GB) (Machiavellian) produced Victoire Pisa (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}), a two-time champion who famously won the G1 Dubai World Cup only weeks after the devastating Japanese earthquake of 2011. Victoire Pisa's half-brother Asakusa Den'en (Jpn) (Singspiel {Ire}) won the G1 Yasuda Kinen in 2005.

Minidress is represented by a yearling full-brother to Rebel's Romance.

Saturday, Al Rayyan (Doha), Qatar
H.H. THE AMIR TROPHY (Sponsored by Longines)-G3, $2,500,000, Al Rayyan, 2-17, 4yo/up, 2400mT, 2:28.84, gd.
1–REBEL'S ROMANCE (IRE), 128, g, 6, by Dubawi (Ire)
1st Dam: Minidress (GB) (SP-Eng), by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Short Skirt (GB), by Diktat (GB)
3rd Dam: Much Too Risky (GB), by Bustino (GB)
O/B-Godolphin; T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buick; $1,425,000. Lifetime Record: Hwt. 3yo-UAE at 9.5-11f, MG1SW-Ger, GISW-US, GSW-UAE & Eng, 17-11-0-0, $4,485,232. *1/2 to Measured Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}), G1SW-UAE, SP-Eng, $479,650. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Zeffiro (Jpn), 128, h, 5, Deep Impact (Jpn)–Wild Wind (Ger), by Danehill Dancer (Ire). O-Shadai Race Horse Co Ltd; B-Shadai Farm; T-Yasutoshi Ikee; J-Joao Moreira; $550,000.
3–Satono Glanz (Jpn), 126, c, 4, Satono Diamond (Jpn)–Cherry Collect (Ire), by Oratorio (Ire). (¥105,000,000 Ylg '21 JHRAJUL). O-Hajime Satomi; B-Northern Racing; T-Yasuo Tomomichi; J-Yuga Kawada; $275,000.
Margins: 3, 1 3/4, HF.
Also Ran: North Bridge (Jpn), Russian Emperor (Ire), Simca Mille (Ire), Haunted Dream (Ire), Jeff Koons (Ire), Israr (GB), Passion And Glory (Ire), Point Lonsdale (Ire).


Brave Emperor Hong Kong Bound Following ITM Cup

Overseas runners captured two of the three supporting features held Saturday in Doha.

In the opening event of the program, Middleham Park Racing's Brave Emperor (Ire) (Sioux Nation) raced prominently throughout and managed to stave off a stinging late rally down the centre of the course from Cairo (Ire) (Quality Road) to take the $500,000 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup for Archie Watson and Luke Morris. According to a report from the South China Morning Post, the 4-year-old is set to take on Hong Kong Horse of the Year Golden Sixty (Aus) (Medaglia d'Oro) in the G1 FWD Champions Mile in late April.

IRISH THOROUGHBRED MARKETING CUP (Qat-G2, NBT), $500,000, Al Rayyan, 2-17, 4yo/up, 1600mT, 1:35.10, gd.
1–BRAVE EMPEROR (IRE), 128, g, 4, Sioux Nation–Roman Gal (Ire), by Holy Roman Emperor (Ire). (£19,000 Ylg '21 GOFAUG). O-Middleham Park Racing; B-Caroline Hanly & Sean Ronan; T-Archie Watson; J-Luke Morris; $285,000. Lifetime Record: Hwt. 3yo-Ity & Ger at 7-9.5f, MGSW-Ger, GSW-Fr & Ity, GSP-Swe, 16-10-3-1, $676,757.
2–Cairo (Ire), 128, c, 4, Quality Road–Cuff (Ire), by Galileo (Ire). O-Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Westerberg; B-Coolmore; T-Ryan Moore; J-Aidan O'Brien; $110,000.
3–Real World (Ire), 128, g, 7, Dark Angel (Ire)–Nafura (GB), by Dubawi (Ire). O/B-Godolphin; T-Saeed Bin Suroor; J-Oisin Murphy; $55,000.
Margins: NK, 1 1/4, NK.


Oddyssey Causes Minor Upset In Al Rayyan Mile

Al Shaqab Racing's G3 Horris Hill S. winner Orne (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) was expected to be a tough nut to crack in the $400,000 Al Rayyan Mile for John and Thady Gosden, but the Gassim Ghazali-conditioned Oddyssey (Ire) (Ulysses {Ire}) more than covered his 80,000gns pricetag from last fall's Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale when driving home by two lengths in a time quicker than the older horses posted in the ITM Cup.

AL RAYYAN MILE (Qat-G2, NBT), $400,000, Al Rayyan, 2-17, 3yo, 1600mT, 1:34.84, gd.
1–ODDYSSEY (GB), 128, c, 3, Ulysses (Ire)–Last Echo (Ire), by Whipper. (10,500gns Wlg '22 TATDEF; 80,000gns HRA '23 TATAUT). O-Sheikh Mohammed Salman M Al-Thani; B-Culworth Grounds Farm; T-Gassim Ghazali; J-Maxime Guyon; $228,000. Lifetime Record: GSP-Eng, 8-3-0-3, $279,073.
2–Orne (Ire), 128, c, 3, Acclamation (GB)–Pellucid (GB), by Excelebration (Ire). (120,000gns Ylg '22 TATOCT). O-Al Shaqab Racing; B-Rahtbarry Stud; T-John & Thady Gosden; J-Robert Havlin; $88,000.
3–Soldier's Gold (Ire), 128, c, 3, Soldier's Call (GB)–Copperbeech (Ire), by Red Ransom. O-Wathnan Racing; B-Bernard & Eugene Heary; T-Alban de Mieulle; J-Mickael Barzalona; $44,000.
Margins: 2, HF, NK.


Team Osborne Back At It In Qatar

Less than 24 hours after making history as the first female rider to win a race at Meydan, Saffie Osborne repeated the dose–again for her father Jamie–in Saturday's $400,000 Dukhan Sprint, Sponsored By Breeders' Cup, getting home aboard Group 1 winner Emaraaty Ana (GB) just ahead of the locally based Monsieur Noir (Ire). Remarkably, each of the top two finishers is an 8-year-old gelding by Shamardal. Godolphin's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf hero Mischief Magic (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) was a good third and could accompany his stablemate back to the States later in the year.

“We will probably travel out to America for the summer as we know he likes the tracks and style of racing out there,” Appleby said.

DUKHAN SPRINT (Sponsored by Breeders' Cup) (Qat-G3, NBT), $400,000, Al Rayyan, 2-17, 3yo/up, 1200mT, 1:09.19, gd.
1–EMARAATY ANA (GB), 128, g, 8, Shamardal–Spirit of Dubai (Ire) (SW-Eng), by Cape Cross (Ire). (160,000gns HRA '23 TATAUT). O-Barratt Racing; B-Rabbah Bloodstock Limited; T-Jamie Osborne; J-Saffie Osborne; $228,000. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Eng, GISP-US, 34-7-5-7, $1,265,929.
2–Monsieur Noir (Ire), 128, g, 8, Shamardal–Night Frolic (GB), by Night Shift. (500,000gns Ylg '17 TATOCT; 75,000gns HRA '19 TATAUT). O-Wathnan Racing; B-Highclere Stud & Floors Farming; T-Alban de Mieulle; J-Oisin Murphy; $88,000.
3–Mischief Magic (Ire), 128, c, 4, Exceed and Excel (Aus)–Veil of Silence (Ire), by Elusive Quality. O/B-Godolphin; T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buick; $44,000.
Margins: HD, HF, NK.

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