Dubai: The Longines Dubai Sheema Classic is one of the great races and has thrown up such champions through the years as Nayef, Sulamani, Gentildonna and Postponed to name a few. It is a notoriously difficult race to win over the one and half miles (2,410 metres) on the grass track racing for an increased pot of $6 million this year.
Godolphin has won this race three times before and it looks to have an excellent chance of making it four here with Old Persian. He has been incredibly consistent having won seven and placed twice in 12 races. On his most recent start this four-year-old colt, trained by Charlie Appleby, won the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold and he looked to have a bit in hand as he ran a touch cosily. William Buick gets the ride again and he could be another part of what looks like it is shaping up to be a great night for Godolphin.
Godolphin is also represented by Racing History, who finished second after being beaten by a head in the Dubai City of Gold. This one is trained by Saeed Bin Surour, who will looking for his third winner in the race. This son of Pivotal has been incredibly consistent but does not win enough, having been second three times and third once in his four starts at Meydan this season. He will be a major player under Christophe Soumillon and should not be discounted.
This is a stiffer test compared to last time, but he needs to be bang there if he is going to be a nice mile-and-a-half horse this year, which we hope he is.
Japan have won this race twice since its inception with super mare Gentildonna being the last to score, but many of their other runners have run brilliantly in the Group 1 classic. It looks like they have another good one here with Rey De Oro. Trained by Kazuo Fujisawa he looks perfectly suited to this race having enjoyed a stellar season last year, which was highlighted with victory in the Tenno Sho in Tokyo. With the help of Christophe Lemaire and with plenty of experience, Rey De Oro could become a third winner for Japan in this great race.
The Japanese have two other runners in the race, who cannot be discounted with Suave Richard being ridden by the Joao “Magic man“ Moreira and he has won a Group 1 before. Cheval Grand also takes his chances under Hugh Bowman and he last won a Grade 1 when winning the 2017 Japan Cup beating Rey De Oro.
Record breaking trainer Aiden O’Brien has brought over two horses for this race with Magic Wand, under Ryan Moore, looking very much to be his first string. Since winning the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, this daughter Coolemore’s legendary stallion Galileo has been consistent and was just touched off in the Prix de L’opera. Do not discount this lovely filly from your calculations. Hunting Horn also represents this all-conquering team and his form is not that of his stablemate having run again with credit since winning at Royal Ascot. Wayne Lordan takes the ride.
Desert Encounter is trained by David Simcock in Newmarket and he has a live chance too having stormed to victory in the Canadian International at Woodbine.
Rey De Oro is fancied to upset the Godolphin first string in Old Persian with Magic Wand sure to make the frame too.
1. Rey De Oro
2. Old Persian
3. Magic Wand