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by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Meydan: The Japanese star Gentildonna is a filly that will get a lot of attention on World Cup night. Whether she will be the favourite or not, as she goes for the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) over 2400 metres on the turf course, is hard to say but she will certainly be amongst those strongly fancied to win the $5 event. Two ladies have beaten the boys in the Sheema over the years, Sun Classique for South Africa in 2008 and Dar Re Mi for England two years later. They were both aged five when winning at Meydan, while Gentildonna comes here as a four-year-old.

A four year-old with excellent form in the book and also a four-year-old entitled to improve. It goes without saying that she will be hard to beat. The daughter of Deep Impact was an absolute sensation last year, when she swept the fillies' Triple Crown before taking on both males and older horses with success in the Japan Cup (G1) over 2400 metres at Tokyo racecourse last November. Three-year-old fillies have a poor record in the Japan Cup, making her win over the mighty Orfevre even more meritorious. It was also some result the Shadai racing club Sunday Racing Co. Ltd., owners of both these top class performers. They flashed past the post inseparable to the naked eye, after having come a bit too close for comfort in the closing stages, but there was to be no repeat of the controversial disqualification of Buena Vista when she intimidated Rose Kingdom in Japan's biggest race two years earlier. By the way, those two were also owned by Sunday Racing Co. Talking about 'deja vu'...

The photo finish revealed that Gentildonna had just managed to beat Orferve, she hit the line a nose sooner than he did. It was her sixth race from seven starts, and her fifth on the trot. Orfevre was coming off a good (and unlucky) second to Solemia in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) at Longchamp in Paris and Rulership, who finished third behind Gentildonna in the Japan Cup, had won two Group One events earlier in the season (once even when racing against Orfevre).

Japan's best filly had just taken her game to a new level. Gentildonna, a daughter of the Japanese Triple Crown champion Deep Impact, was voted Horse of The Year 2012 in Japan, and if she runs up to her best at Meydan, well, then her 2013 campaign will be off to an excellent start. She has a high cruising speed and is thus able to find a good position not to far off the early leaders, and she always produces a smart turn of foot at the finish. Gentildonna has won over 1600 metres, but 2400 metres is her ideal distance. That is also the distance of the 'Sheema', a race she has been trained for all winter.

Her sire Deep Impact was a Triple Crown winner and twice Horse of The Year in Japan, and he has been just as successful at stud. So far, he is doing particularly well with his daughters. Besides Gentildonna and also her Japanese Oaks runner-up, Verxina, and the juvenile champion filly Joie de Vivre, Deep Impact has also sired the very smart filly Beauty Parlour, whose win in last year's Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (G1) made him the first Japanese based stallion to sire a classic winner in Europe. Deep Impact the great stallion Sunday Silence's best son on the racecourse and he was also impeccably bred. His dam, the English trained Wind In Her Hair, became a Group One winner by taking the Aral Pokal (G1) in Germany, having previously been second to Godolphin's star filly Balanchine in the Epsom Oaks (G1).

Gentildonna's dam was also top class; her name was Donna Blini, a daughter of Bertolini who completed the Cherry Hinton (G2) / Cheveley Park Stakes (G1) double at Newmarket as a two-year-old.

Last update: 2013-03-14 05:19:13 (First published: 2013-03-09 05:09:04 )

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