$6,000,000 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1)

Winner: Old Persian
Owner: Godolphin
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Jockey: William Buick

Official Time: 2:27.17 (2410m, Track Record: 2:26.85 – Hawkbill, 2018)

Margin of: 1 ½ lengths

Old Persian proved too powerful in the US$6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) to present owners Godolphin and potent trainer-jockey combination Charlie Appleby and William Buick with a remarkable treble on the Dubai World Cup card.

A 4-year-old homebred colt by the mighty stallion Dubawi, Old Persian had been considered a major contender beforehand and benefitted from saving ground on the rail behind the pacesetting Japanese-trained Rey De Oro.

As the eight runners swung into the homestretch, Buick was able to point his classy bay mount into clear running and quickly they established a winning break before the final 200m.

The Japanese pair of Cheval Grand and Suave Richard came from off the pace to get within a length-and-a-half and half a length respectively of the winner at the line. The time clocked for the 2410m was the second fastest in the past decade at 2 minutes 27.17 seconds.

For Old Persian it was his eighth career victory in 13 starts and his first at the highest level. Last year he won at G2 level both at Royal Ascot and at York in the Great Voltiguer Stakes when he outpointed Cross Counter, winner of the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors for the same team earlier on the programme.

The career bankroll for Old Persian now stands at US$4.87 million.

QUOTES
Charlie Appleby, Trainer, OLD PERSIAN (1st)—“It has just been a fantastic night, and I’m so pleased for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the whole Godolphin team. They went a good sensible gallop and William made a sensible move turning for home to make his gap, allowing himself to get the run he needed. I knew the acceleration was there. He’s a class animal, a typical Dubawi who has made that great progression.”

William Buick, Jockey, OLD PERSIAN (1st)—“He got a lovely trip around and, even when Christophe slackened the pace about halfway, we were in a good spot. It was just a question of getting the splits. I have to give credit to the horse - he finds his own passage and, from three to four, he's really improved and he has a big turn of foot now. It was a beautiful performance from the horse. Coming here tonight, we knew we had exceptional horses in good shape, but with the international competition, it can sometimes be hard to weigh up. Especially in this race, the Sheema Classic, you had to give respect to the Japanese and to Aidan O'Brien's horse. It was a big effort.”

Yasuo Tomomichi, Trainer, CHEVAL GRAND (2nd)—“The draw was good but he got stuck at the start further back than I wanted him. For his first race abroad, it was a very good run. He ran well.”

Hugh Bowman, Jockey, CHEVAL GRAND (2nd)—“He's a very consistent horse. He was a bit slow to jump, which I didn't want to happen, but I was pleased with where I settled. I thought the pace was quite strong early, it slowed up in the middle stages but it wasn't a joke. It was a bit of a sprint home, which played into the winner's hands, but my bloke ran his heart out and I'm very proud of him. It's been a great first experience riding at Meydan, but obviously it would have been nice to win.”

Joao Moreira, Jockey, SUAVE RICHARD (3rd)—“He had a beautiful run through, they were going fast enough that I knew the front runner wasn’t going to be in the first three horses. I got a held up a little bit when the horse in front of me started to drop back around the 1000m mark, and that may have cost me second place. There wasn’t much I could have done differently. It was a good run.”

Wayne Lordan, Jockey, HUNTING HORN (4th)—“He jumped from the gates smart and got a good position but it was a competitive event and my horse ran well.”

Ryan Moore, Jockey, MAGIC WAND (5th)—“She ran OK. She was beaten by some good colts and hopefully she'll improve for that.”

Christophe Lemaire, Jockey, REY DE ORO (6th)— “Today we went to the lead. From to start through the first turn he relaxed, but along the backstretch he was a bit keen and so in the end he exhausted himself. It is a shame, but he doesn’t seem to be able to put his best foot forward in Dubai.”

Christophe Soumillon, Jockey, RACING HISTORY (7th)—“He was running a good race, but from the turn onward he could not go with the others.”
Jim Crowley, Jockey, DESERT ENCOUNTER (8th)—“I had a good trip round, but he didn’t pick up as well as some of the others did.”