Once A Dirt Demon, Now a 'Rebel' With a Cause On Turf


Rebel's Romance | Breeders' Cup/Eclipse Sportswire


Rebel's Romance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) began his 4-year-old season as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's best hope for the G1 Dubai World Cup, what with his towering success in the G2 UAE Derby as a sophomore. When things on the main track went belly-up over the winter at Meydan, trainer Charlie Appleby and team were compelled to call an audible and switched the gelding–clearly bred to handle the turf–to that surface. The decision has paid off in spades, as the lanky dark bay ran his grass record to five wins from as many starts with a defeat of 12-1 Stone Age (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) in Saturday's GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland.

Rebel's Romance, favored on the morning line, but off at nearly 6-1, was not particularly fast away and found himself in the slipstream of his GI Saratoga Derby and GIII Jockey Club Invitational winner Nation's Pride (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) in the latter third of the field early on. Bye Bye Melvin (Uncle Mo) made the running in advance of Channel Maker (English Channel)–making his fifth straight start in the Turf and sixth Breeders' Cup appearance overall–and the pace was sensible for the distance.

Held up behind midfield and racing with the well-backed War Like Goddess (English Channel) to his inside and the swan-songing Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) to his outer, Rebel's Romance was patiently handled into the final half-mile by James Doyle and commenced an overland rally together with Mishriff as they entered the final five-sixteenths of a mile. Spun about six wide into the lane, Rebel's Romance showed a slightly better turn of acceleration than the 2021 Saudi Cup hero who tried to match strides in upper stretch and hit the front while racing on his incorrect lead with a furlong to travel before kicking on to a game score. Stone Age ran on strongly for second ahead of War Like Goddess, who took the gap between the tiring pacesetters inside the furlong marker and settled for third. Mishriff, who is off to stud in France next year, covered 34 feet (nearly four lengths) more than the winner and rounded out the superfecta.

Trainer Charlie Appleby completed a Breeders' Cup three-timer for the second year running, while James Doyle was winning a Breeders' Cup race for the first time.

“The horse is maturing and well traveled now,” said Appleby. “What he's done this season on the turf has been–rejuvenated from a horse that at one stage we looked like we might have been losing him for a moment.

“But a typical Dubawi, he's gotten stronger. But full credit to the team. Delighted for James to have his first winner.”

Added Doyle: “My sister [Sophie] has been over here a number of years. I hope I made her proud. I've let her down a few times coming over. Hopefully she enjoys this one. And obviously riding for the right team. Any ride for Charlie Appleby in the Breeders' Cup, as we've seen, is pretty dangerous.”

With his treble over the weekend, Appleby has now trained the winners of nine Breeders' Cup races.

After those two early-season dirt debacles at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, in which he was beaten by a combined 51 1/2 lengths, Rebel's Romance was the handy winner of Newmarket's Listed Fred Archer S. in his first spin on the turf June 25 ahead of a more narrow success in the G3 Glorious S. at Goodwood the following month. The hardy dark bay was back on the road just 16 days later, carrying Doyle to a neck score in the G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten and entered the Turf off a 3/4-length defeat of this year's G1 Deutsches Derby hero Sammarco (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) in the G1 Preis von Europa at Cologne Sept. 25.

Pedigree Notes:

Rebel's Romance is the fifth individual Breeders' Cup winner for Dubawi, whose progeny have teamed to take down six trophies altogether, when factoring in Modern Games's Mile victory a few races prior.

Rebel's Romance's stakes-placed dam is a daughter of multiple Group 3 winner Short Skirt, also third in the 2006 G1 Vodafone Epsom Oaks, who was purchased by Godolphin for 1.4 million gns out of the 2006 Tattersalls December Mare Sale. Short Skirt also went on to produce Volcanic Sky (GB) (Street Cry {Ire}), winner for Godolphin of the G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 14 grassy furlongs.

Minidress is the dam of the 2-year-old colt Measured Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}). The mare's foal of 2021, a filly by 2015 Turf runner-up Golden Horn (GB), sadly passed away this year.

Saturday, Keeneland
LONGINES BREEDERS' CUP TURF-GI, $3,680,000, Keeneland, 11-5, 3yo/up, 1 1/2mT, 2:26.35 (NTR), fm.
1–REBEL'S ROMANCE (IRE), 126, g, 4, 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 (Ire); T-Charles Appleby; J-James Doyle.
$2,080,000. Lifetime Record: MG1SW-Ger, GSW-Eng, GSW-UAE,
12-9-0-0, $2,934,610. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the
free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Stone Age (Ire), 122, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Bonanza Creek (Ire),
by Anabaa. O-Peter M. Brant, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B.
Tabor, Derrick Smith & Westerberg; B-White Birch Farm Sc
(Ire); T-Aidan P. O'Brien. $680,000.
3–War Like Goddess, 123, m, 5, English Channel–Misty North,
by North Light (Ire). ($1,200 Wlg '17 KEENOV; $1,000 RNA Ylg
'18 KEESEP; $30,000 2yo '19 OBSOPN). O-George Krikorian;
B-Calumet Farm (KY); T-William I. Mott. $360,000.
Margins: 2 1/4, 3/4, NK. Odds: 5.96, 12.05, 3.47.
Also Ran: Mishriff (Ire), Nations Pride (Ire), Broome (Ire), Channel Maker, Master Piece (Chi), Bye Bye Melvin, Gold Phoenix (Ire), Red Knight, Highland Chief (Ire), Nautilus (Brz).
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Firebreak Friday Feature As DWCC Rolls On
  2. Half To Mozu Ascot Debuts at Tokyo
  3. KTFMC Meeting: Equine Veterinary Changes, Implications for Farm Managers
  4. Eclipse Award Ceremony to be Broadcast Live on FanDuel TV and RTN
  5. The Week In Review: For Syndicate Partners, What's In A Name (Or Ten)?

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.