Sibelius Neutralizes Switzerland In Golden Shaheen Thriller

Sibelius | Erika Rasmussen


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — It would be difficult to imagine that anyone has embraced and enjoyed their time in the Emirates more than trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer, his wife Alison and exercise rider Chelsie Raabe. From the perspective of the 130 or so horses taking part on World Cup Night, the same could perhaps be said for Sibelius (Not This Time), who would make his way to the Meydan main track about the same time the sun was peeking over the horizon, then would just stand there, like class horses are wont to do, just soaking it all in. As day turned to night Saturday, the 5-year-old gelding called on every ounce of guts and grit within him and scraped in by the skin of his teeth in the $2-million G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Nakheel.

Drawn the rail over a surface that had already produced a pair of front-running winners, Sibelius broke a bit flat-footed and was rousted along by Ryan Moore–victorious earlier aboard Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup at two miles on the turf–taking up a position ahead of midfield as Hopkins (Quality Road) set the pace in advance of G3 Mahab al Shimaal winner Sound Money (Flatter) and Gunite (Gun Runner) widest out. Sibelius, checked lightly off the heels of Tuz (Oxbow) on the turn, remained within striking distance, a few lengths adrift of the leading trio, who had the race between them at the top of the stretch. Hopkins boxed on gamely while on his incorrect lead and Gunite remained glued to his flank, but Sibelius was making inches at the fence as Moore pumped vigorously with his left hand while going to an intermittent right-handed stick. Sibelius slipped through inside of Hopkins with time ticking away and likely never saw Sibelius, who was charging four off the inside for Tadhg O'Shea. The two reached the wire nearly simultaneously, with Sibelius prevaling by a zop.

“The race worked out quite the way I had predicted,” said O'Dwyer. “You know you can read these races a hundred times but it will never go the same way. To be honest, he just sat back in the gates and was a bit slow but when you have a master rider like Ryan Moore, he gets you out of trouble.

“It really is a proud moment for us. I am grateful to the owners. They let me do what is best with the horse every step of the way and never interfere.”

Added Moore, “I was very lucky to pick up the ride. He actually stepped a little slowly, I was a half-length further behind than I wanted to be. We had a charmed run, they just drifted off which meant we didn't have to change lanes and the horse dug in really deep. He showed a lot of courage and heart to get there.”

Sibelius greeted the judge just twice from his first 12 trips to the post over a variety of trips, but turned a few heads with a big-figure allowance score going three-quarters of a mile at Saratoga last August followed by a blowout victory in the Lite The Fuse S. at Laurel (106 Beyer) the next month. Fourth as the favorite in the GII Phoenix S. at Keeneland Oct. 7, dashing any aspirations for a Breeders' Cup try, he was run down in the Bet On Sunshine S. at Churchill Nov. 13 before returning an overlaid $11.20 when making the grade in the Dec. 31 GIII Mr. Prospector S. at Gulfstream Park. He prepped for the Shaheen with a bloodless success in the Feb. 11 Pelican S. at Tampa Bay Downs.

Pedigree Notes:

Sibelius is the fourth top-level scorer for his boom sire, who has been represented by 24 black-type winners, of which 10 have come in the graded ranks. Sibelius, whose multiple stakes-placed half-sister Dypsy (Broken Vow) produced top Cal-bred sprinter and GI Malibu S. runner-up Edwards Going Left (Midnight Lute), is one of seven winners from 10 to race out of a half-sister to the talented Grade III-winning turf distaffer Clamorosa (Seattle Dancer). Fiery Pulpit is the dam of the 3-year-old filly Goddess Pele (West Coast) and a juvenile colt by Palace Malice that will be trained by Fawzi Nass in the Gulf region after selling for €135,802 ($145,629) at the Goffs Dubai Breeze-Up earlier this week. Fiery Pulpit is due to Catalina Cruiser for her 2023 foal.

Saturday, Meydan, Dubai
DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN SPONSORED BY NAKHEEL-G1, $2,000,000, Meydan, 3-25, NH & SH 3yo/up, 6f, 1:10.69, ft.
1–SIBELIUS, 126, g, 5, by Not This Time
1st Dam: Fiery Pulpit, by Pulpit
2nd Dam: Pretty Flame, by Mt. Livermore
                3rd Dam: Pretty Driver, by Lt. Stevens
1ST GROUP 1 WIN.($100,000 Wlg '18 KEENOV; $62,000 RNA
Ylg '19 KEEJAN; $75,000 RNA Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Jun H. Park
and Delia Nash; B-Taylor Brothers Properties LLC, Pollock
Farms, Patrick H. Payne et (KY); T-Jeremiah O'Dwyer; J-Ryan
Moore. $1,160,000. Lifetime Record: GSW-US, 19-7-3-3,
$1,648,889. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the
   free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Switzerland, 126, g, 9, Speightstown–Czechers, by Indian
Charlie. ($170,000 Wlg '14 KEENOV; $175,000 Ylg '15 KEESEP;
$500,000 2yo '16 FTMMAY). O-RRR Racing; B-Branch Family
Trust (KY); T-Bhupat Seemar. $400,000.
3–Gunite, 126, c, 4, Gun Runner–Simple Surprise, by Cowboy
Cal. O/B-Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Steven
Asmussen. $200,000.
Margins: NO, HF, HF.
Also Ran: Hopkins, Remake (Jpn), Red Le Zele (Jpn), Tuz, C Z Rocket, Sound Money, Lemon Pop, Super Ocho (Chi), Justin (Jpn), Mouheeb, Road Bloc. VIDEO.



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

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Hernandez, D'Amato, Reddam Secure Hollywood Meet Titles
  2. Track Superintendent Field Day Set For September
  3. Willow Oak A First Winner For Claiborne's War of Will
  4. Week In Review: Northern California Racing Begins Its Uphill Battle For Survival
  5. Planetario Breaks His Own Track Record To Win Another GIII San Juan Capistrano S. At Santa Anita

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.