Feature Story



By Duane Fonseca - 

Three years after winning the UAE Derby on dirt, Godolphin’s star globetrotter Rebel’s Romance galloped down Meydan’s beautiful turf surface to win the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic for Charlie Appleby and William Buick.

In a rather straightforward victory with Buick playing the percentages, the six-year-old Dubawi gelding took the pace in his stride before galloping away on receiving his orders in the straight. At the post, the 2022 Longines Breeders Cup Turf winner was two clear of 2022 champion Shahryar, whose Sunday Racing teammate Liberty Island took third a further length behind.   

"He showed in Qatar what a versatile horse he is," said Buick. 

"His best form has usually been when he’s held up but in Qatar I tried something new. I was keen today to adopt a similar tactic and I got a lovely slipstream from the leader.

"He’s a very good horse on his day and he showed that today. I’m absolutely delighted; he’s a great horse and I’m so glad he’s back to his best."

Reflecting on the importance of Godolphin registering a win on the biggest night day of the year in Dubai racing, Buick said: "You know His Highness wants to see the best horses come to Dubai and the best horses are here. These races are incredibly hard to win so of course I’m incredibly happy.

"It’s great for the team, great for everybody. It’s great to be here and it’s great to ride a winner. It’s an amazing training performance and a great job by the whole team. I’m in the fortunate position to be able to ride these horses."

Appleby had been out of luck with three earlier runners, with Star Of Mystery doing best when chasing home California Spangle in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m).

"It was our last roll of the dice for today," said Appleby. 

"We went into the race as a long shot which shows the depth of the race. We had a bumpy road last year, went to Kempton to bring up his confidence and then Qatar to bring him back to where we wanted him to be.

"Full credit to the team, especially the logistical team as he went back to the UK from Qatar and then out here. The plan was to go forward and William knows the track and horse very well. Most importantly, delighted for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the entire team at Godolphin."