Charlie Appleby runs the rule over his team for Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan on Saturday.
Charlie Appleby feels Rebel’s Romance could prove to be one of the most entertaining figures on Dubai World Cup Night if he can reproduce his very best form in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on Saturday.
The five-year-old enjoyed a season to remember last term, recording five straight victories across four different countries, including a pulsating success in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland in November.
The 10-strong field for the mile and a half contest is an excellent one and is headed by the Japanese superstar Equinox, who has won each of his last two starts in Grade 1 company over in Japan.
Equinox is joined by last year’s Irish Derby winner Westover and the Neom Turf Cup winner Mostahdaf, though Appleby revealed that he is pleased with where he is with the son of Dubawi.
And while he was ruled out of his prep run on Super Saturday at the beginning of the month, Appleby feels that missing that engagement may well have enhanced his credentials.
He said: “He’s fine after a minor setback. Missing Super Saturday was one of those decisions we made early so that we don’t get drawn into running him on the day and we felt that we probably didn’t really need it as a trial as I didn’t want to put pressure on the horse.
“We came here 10 days ago and spun him round on the turf track, he looks great and you can’t fault him. He looks a million dollars and he’s one of the most exciting horses of the night – he’s won five on the turf there and he’s already done it on the biggest stage. It’s a very strong race and there’s a lot of strength and depth in every race. Hopefully he’s got half a chance!”
Appleby has a total of six runners on World Cup Night and he provided an update on each of his team below.
“He’s got the sort of profile of a good middle distance to two miler. He hasn’t won yet over two miles but he comes into the race off the back of a nice performance here. The one thing he does for a horse that gets the trip to a level is that he’s got a gear change – he travels particularly well and he’s got a turn of foot. He’s got a nice draw and hopefully he can use his tactical pace to good effect.
“They didn’t go a particularly strong gallop here last time but that was more suited to us really, because he’s one of the few middle distance horses who’s got a good turn of foot.
“He won the City of Gold last time after finishing third in the race last year. He wasn’t there by default this year but it was Rebel’s Romance’s target before he met with that setback, so we popped Global Storm into pole position. He went around there well and we felt he was well worth his place on World Cup Night.”
“With these sprinters you often find that the older they get the stronger they get and the most important thing with him is getting him into a good racing mind and that’s where he is on the back of two wins out here. He’s in great shape and he thinks he’s King Kong! The draw would have been more ideal with a high number but the favourite is drawn in eight so we’ll try and get a toe into the race and see if we can get some tactical pace at the right end.”
“He’s fragile in mind and body. His mind can sometimes be his biggest challenge but he was unlucky last time out and he’s come out of the race well. He’s a horse who was second in a Guineas so we know he’s got the ability. He’s got half a sensible draw and James (Doyle) is riding him for the first time for a while. He knows him from home though and he should be putting up a good performance. He sees that trip out well and he’s got a turn of foot.”
“If there’s a gallop on, the one thing this horse will be doing is doing it at the right end of the race and finishing well. Dropping back to nine furlongs doesn’t concern us as he’s a strong traveller and we’ve seen him performing at the top level as well – so we’ve two very competitive horses in this race. The draw could have been kinder to us but it’s out of our hands.”
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