Dubai: Gentildonna went one better than last year’s second place to win the Dubai Sheema Classic under the star jockey from England, Ryan Moore.
Her success comes after she became the first horse to win the Japan Cup twice last December.
Excellent Result made the early running under Silvestre De Sousa, but soon Denima And Ruby assumed control with Twilight Eclipse, of the United States, close behind in second.
The order remained the same until the home straight when the race really unwound.
A strong challenge by Aiden O’Brien’s Magician looked like it was going to be telling, but it fizzled out fairly quickly and Gentildonna asserted herself in mighty style.
Cirrus Des Aigles exhibited huge gusto to run a superb race to finish second, with Ambivalent in third.
Jockey Moore commented: “He was very rough early on but I managed to get a nice slot and a nice enough run, but I had just been hemmed in a bit in the straight. I pulled her out and she quickened up very well, and she’s got an awful lot of heart.
“She felt a bit of a stronger filly today than when I rode her in the last two races. She’s in a lot better condition. She’s obviously exceptionally talented and did more than what I expected her to do.”
Trainer Sei Ishizaka was delighted, and said: “She is a very strong horse, that’s all I have to say. She is better than [she was in] the Japan Cup win. It was a very tough race for her, but we are very happy that she managed to win it. A Japan Cup hat-trick? Sure, she’s got a great chance to do that. That’s our target now going forward.”
Shunsuke Yoshira, head of the winning Sunday Racing Co Ltd syndicate, added: “During the last race, I was so excited. Last year I expected to win like that and this year as well. She is the best filly we have; we have three, but she is the best.”
Yoshira added: “What’s next for us? We haven’t decided but, after this win, we’ve got plenty of options now. On the last stretch, she lost her way, but after she went outside it was a fantastic finish. This is a very good place to win.”
— The author is a racing journalist, broadcaster and GM of Draiton Feed Commodities
(With inputs from Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter, and Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter)