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Sheema Classic: Trio tops wide open turf contest
by Geir Stabell ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2011-03-26 05:01:23 (First published: 2011-03-22 07:08:42 )



Meydan 26 March 2011 2410 metres / 1 miles Turf

Runners presented with best Globeform, sire, jockey

119p RULERSHIP (King Kamehameha) C Soumillon
119p REWILDING (Tiger Hill) L Dettori
119 DANGEROUS MIDGE (Lion Heart) M Dwyer
117* AL SHEMALI (Medicean) R Ffrench
116 CHAMP PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus) J Rosario
116 BOURBON BAY (Sligo Bay) R Bejarano
116 REDWOOD (High Chaparral) M Hills
115 LAHEEB (Cape Cross) R Hills
115 IRISH FLAME (Dynasty) K Shea
113 DEEM (Galileo) mare O Peslier
114 MARINOUS (Numerous) K Fallon
114 CHINCON (Marju) G Mosse
112 CALVADOS BLUES (Lando) A Ajtebi
114 KING DANCER (Danehill Dancer) R Moore

*) Al Shemali Globeform 117 in 2010 / GF 110 in 2011

Fillies and mares: 2kg / 4.4lb sex allowance, add four pounds to their ratings for direct comparison with males.


Three names stick out
in this edition of the Sheema Classic, a race that looks quite open with as many as seven horses rated within three pounds at the top of our list. Three pounds equals about two lengths over this distance and they all have a chance. Rulership, coming off a fine win in Japan, Rewliding, a potential improver for Godolphin, and last year's Breeders' Cup Turf winner Dangerous Midge are a notch above the rest, however, and at least one of these three should run to form and win the race. All three are also open to improvement, so ticking the trio off in any multibets ought to see us through this leg. Rulership is particularly interesting, and gets the nod for our win bet. He has had a run this year, something that may give him an advantage over the others. Al Shemali ran to GF 117 when winning the Duty Free last year but has not been anywhere near that level of form in any of his other starts, and is thus hard to fancy. The North American pair Champ Pegasus and Bourbon Bay make more appeal. Incredibly closely matched in two meetings at Santa Anita this winter, they can both make an impact. Champ Pegasus was second to Dangerous Midge at the Breeders' Cup last year and he is probably the one who might improve.



Worth knowing...

Five of the last six winners of the Sheema Classic were five years old, with two representing the girls; Dar Re Mi last year and Sun Classique in 2008.


represents Japan and, coming off his career best effort, he has a winning chance. The Sheema Classic is wide open. Three horses are tied at the top of the rankings with Globeform 119. Rulership returned this good rating when taking the Nikkei Shinshun Hai (G2) over 2400 metres at Kyoto in January. Three four-year-olds dominated at the finish, as Rulership beat Hirunu d'Amour and Rose Kingdom by 2 lengths. He was receiving weight from the latter, but Rose Kingdom is none other than last year's Japan Cup (G1) winner after the disqualification of Buena Vista and the form is rock solid. This performance indicates that Rulership has improved over the winter, and is now just a notch below Buena Vista and Victoire Pisa, who are both set to run in the World Cup. Rulership's form was further underlined when the fourth placed horse in the Shinshun Hai, Namura Crescent, went on to a facile success in Grade 2 company last Sunday. Rulership was fifth in last year's Japanese Derby (G1) and later in the season he won a Grade 3 over 1800 metres, before running a good sixth, just 3 lengths behind Victoire Pisa, in the Arima Kinen (G1).

REWILDING, set to make his seasonal debut for Godolphin, is a four-year-old expected to make his presence felt at the highest level this year, after having showing form just a notch below the very best in the classic generation in England last season. He began his career with French champion trainer Andre Fabre, but was transferred to Al Zarooni's team in Newmarket with a view to a crack at the Epsom Derby (G1) last June. Rewilding won his prep race for Epsom in fine style, landing the Cocked Hat Stakes (LR) by 4 lengths from Prizefighting at Goodwood, and he progressed well off that run - proving good enough to grab third at Epsom. Workforce, who won the classic by 7 lengths, was way too good, but in finishing third Rwilding had high-class performers Jan Vermeer and Midas Touch immediately behind him. The latter was runner-up when Rewilding continued his climb towards the top by winning the Great Voltiguer Stakes (G2) at York in August. The son of Tiger Hill was visually so impressive that day, cruising home 4 lengths clear under a very confident Dettori, and he became favourite for the St. Leger (G1) at Doncaster the following month. For whatever reason, he did not look the same horse in the St. Leger. Rewilding had perhaps simply lost his form, and the 1 3/4-mile trip may also have been unsuitable. He could manage only sixth, 6 lengths behind Arctic Cosmos, while Midas Touch finished second. The Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) was always the obvious target for Rewilding on World Cup night. Racing over 2400 metres on turf is ideal for this runner. One big plus; he is the most likely improver in this race, which was won without a prep race by Dar Re Me last year. Rewilding could well do the same.

DANGEROUS MIDGE is an English trained contender whose finest hour last year came when he was shipped across the Atlantic to contest the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. That had seemed a highly unlikely target at the beginning of the season, when Dangerous Midge was no more than a horse just above 'run of the mill' class in his homeland, but he improved dramatically through the campaign, and earned his trip to the Breeders' Cup by winning three races in England, most notably the Old Newton Handicap, which he won by 8 lengths. At the Breeders' Cup, Dangerous Midge outstayed Champ Pegasus one of the best turf runners in the USA to win by 1 lengths. The race favourite, French trained Behkabad, was beaten another 2 lengths into third place. The distance was the same as he will be tackling in the Sheema Classic (G1) and Dangerous Midge is a strong contender at Meydan. It will be his first start of the year, but he won on his seasonal debut last term and his trainer, Brian Meehan, prepared David Junior to land the Dubai Duty Free (G1) without a prep race five years ago.

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