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17 April 2024

Super Sibelius Aims for Shaheen Defence

By E247

 His daily posing has made him a photographer’s dream and now Sibelius aims to become the third horse to win two editions of the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen [sponsored by Nakheel].
“He's a good-looking fellow, he's a sweetheart of a horse and everybody likes him and he likes everyone as well,” said trainer Jerry O'Dwyer. “If anything, I’m more confident coming in this year as we know he handles things here. We’ve tried to keep things like last year as much as possible.”
Doug Watson is yet to win this race and the locally based trainer pitches in Sayed Hashish’s reliable Colour Up, who skipped Super Saturday in order to be fresh for this.
“He ran well early in the season in Stakes races, but he was just never right in his coat and I was never happy with him,” Watson said. “I thought he had no chance in the [Listed] Jebel Ali Sprint and then he won it and since then his coat is gleaming.
“He has lost all that hair and he really seems to have come into himself. Really, though, he has to be at his best to compete in this company.”
Another local trainer trying to win this for the first time is Champion Trainer-elect Michael Costa, who runs Mouheeb, runaway winner of the G3 Al Shindagha Sprint when last seen in January.
The six-year-old must break from stall 13, but Costa believes he has him spot on for the 1200metre assignment.
“He’s the greatest we have had him from his work to his physical condition,” said the handler, who will rely on stable jockey Ben Coen on the big day.
Japan has a strong hand in the race, with Riyadh Dirt Sprint winner Remake, fifth last year, taking on Keiai Dorie, Don Frankie and Igniter, a two-time horse of the year on the NAR circuit.
The last-named will be ridden by Tsubasa Sasagawa, who said: “He has adapted to environment in Dubai very quickly, which is a strength of his. Mentally, he stands out as one of the best I have ever ridden, so tough, and I would like to maximize his strength.
“The dirt track here is very fast which suits Igniter. He was the champion horse of Japan’s country racing circuit last year, so I would like to get a good result with him.”
Trainer Jose D’Angelo is on a swift upward trajectory and he aims for a first Meydan success with Run Classic, winner of the Gulfstream Park Sprint last time out.
“He has only had one start for us, but we really liked what he did that day,” said the Venezuela-born trainer. “We’re confident he belongs in this Group 1 company and that he will run a big race. He’s really doing well here.”
An open race, it also features Hopkins, fourth last year, for trainer Bob Baffert, while Bhupat Seemar saddles Tuz, Leading Spirit and Freedom Fighter.
The Dubai Golden Shaheen [sponsored by Nakheel] is race six, with a post time of 6:25pm UAE.