Bobby Zen

A half-dozen years ago, Charlie Appleby mapped out a plan to send that year’s G1 Dubai Sheema Classic winner Hawkbill (Kitten’s Joy) to Hong Kong in an attempt to become the first overseas winner of the G1 Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup. Those plans were ultimately scuppered, owing perhaps in some part to a down-the-field finish by a then-unexposed Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal) in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize the month prior.

In the form of Rebel’s Romance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), Appleby surmised that he had the ‘right horse’ to try once again to crack the Group 1 barrier in one of the world’s toughest racing jurisdictions. A hearty traveler, with feature wins on his resume in Germany, America, Qatar and most recently Dubai–where he landed a deep renewal of the Sheema Classic Mar. 30–the homebred continued his winning ways Sunday with a defeat of seven locals by a two-length margin that belied the dominant nature of the victory.

Drawn widest in the field, Rebel’s Romance was only fairly into stride beneath his regular rider William Buick, but with a long run to the first corner, there was plenty of time to slot in, and the gelding was allowed to roll forward–as has become his custom–to sit just off the flank of Moments In Time (Chi) (Lookin At Lucky). The pace was honest enough for the 2400-metre distance on a course that had taken plenty of rain through the week, and while the leaders had a bit of a break on the peloton down the back, things got a bit tighter as they hit the entrance to the second turn with a half-mile to go.

Buick went for Rebel’s Romance in earnest fully 600 metres from home, knowing full well he was sitting on a stayer of the highest class and that if something was going to catch them, they’d have to be pretty good. Moments In Time stuck on as long and as gamely as he could, but Rebel’s Romance asserted his superiority a furlong and a half from home and cruised home an easy winner. Five G Patch (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) closed off well at the fence for second ahead of his stablemate La City Blanche (Arg) (Cityscape {GB}), reversing the first and second placings from the G3 Queen Mother Memorial Cup H. May 5.

Moments In Time held fourth, Hong Kong Derby hero Massive Sovereign (Ire) (No Nay Never) was disappointing in sixth and three-peat seeking Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) was only seventh in what was likely his final career appearance.

Appleby is hopeful that Sunday’s win will pave the way for further Godolphin participation in Hong Kong. The operation’s last Hong Kong success came courtesy of Mastery (GB) (Sulamani {Ire}) in the 2010 G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase.

“Having the right horse in Rebel’s Romance, we felt he was a horse we could be competitive with and hopefully in the near future, for sure, we’ll be looking forward to finding horses to coming over here,” the trainer said. “He’s a gelded son of Dubawi, he loves his travels. He’s a professional now and he’s done plenty of travelling now. He prefers to be on a plane than actually in his stable.

“The whole concept of Godolphin was built on being an international stable and hopefully dining at the top table as fortunately as we are today. Hong Kong racing is one of the pinnacles of racing and to come here, you have to have the right horse.”

Buick, who received a fist bump from Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges on his way back to scale, added: “Hong Kong is a special place. I’ve been coming here for many years now and it’s tough to win at any level. It’s great to come here with a horse like Rebel’s Romance and even better to win.”

One race after Blue Point’s aforementioned flop in 2018 with Buick in the boot, the Norweigian guided the mercurial Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal) to a victory in the G1 QE II Cup.

Rebel’s Romance is likely to return to America for a race like the GI Sword Dancer Invitational S., a ‘Win and You’re In’ qualifier for another crack at the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar in November. From there, all roads could lead back to Sha Tin for the Vase the following month.

Pedigree Notes:

Rebel’s Romance is a third elite-level winner in Hong Kong for the all-conquering Dubawi, joining the top sprinter Lucky Nine (Ire) and 10-furlong specialist Akeed Mofeed (GB). With the victory, Rebel’s Romance leapfrogs Lord North (Ire) as Dubawi’s leading money earner.

Sheikh Mohammed’s operation purchased Rebel’s Romance’s second dam Short Skirt, a half-sister to the multiple group-winning and multiple Group 1-placed Whitewater Affair (GB) (Machiavellian), for 1.4 million guineas ($2,839,305) at the 2006 Tattersalls December Mares sale and among her four other winners was G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy winner Volcanic Sky (GB) (Street Cry {Ire}), while her unraced daughter Rose Law (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) produced Godolphin’s Japanese listed winner and Group 3-placed Due Process (GB) (Daiwa Major {Jpn}).

There is more Japanese black-type in the third dam, as Whitewater Affair accounted for multiple Japanese champion/Group 1 and poignant G1 Dubai World Cup hero Victoire Pisa (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}), as well as Group 1-winning miler Asakusa Den’en (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}).

Rebel’s Romance’s G1 Jebel Hatta-winning half-brother Measured Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}) is scheduled to make a New York appearance as early as the GI Manhattan S. at Saratoga on the Belmont S. undercard June 8. Measured Time was a latest fourth in the G1 Dubai Turf Mar. 30.

The most recent foal from Minidress is a yearling full-brother to Rebel’s Romance.


Globetrotting star!

@A_Evers | @godolphin | #HKracing

— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) May 26, 2024

Sunday, Sha Tin Hong Kong
STANDARD CHARTERED CHAMPIONS & CHATER CUP-G1, HK$13,000,000 (£1,309,100/€1,536,600/US$1,665,300), 3yo/up, 2400mT, 2:25.62, gd.
1–REBEL’S ROMANCE (IRE), 126, g, 6, by Dubawi (Ire)
1st Dam: Minidress (GB), by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Short Skirt (GB), by Diktat (GB)
3rd Dam: Much Too Risky (GB), by Bustino (GB)
O/B-Godolphin; T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buick; HK$7,280,000. Lifetime Record: Hwt. 3yo-UAE at 9.5-11f, G1SW-UAE & Ger, GSW-Eng & Qat, GISW-US, 19-13-0-0, $8,897,072. *1/2 to Measured Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}), G1SW-UAE, SP-Eng, $729,650. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Five G Patch (Ire), 126, g, 6, Camelot (GB)–Uliana, by Darshaan (GB). O-Lam Wai Ying; B-Newstead Breeding; T-Tony Cruz; J-Brenton Avdulla; HK$2,730,000.
3–La City Blanche (Arg), 126, g, 5, Cityscape (GB)–Etoile Blanc (Brz), by Nedawi (GB). O-Chef’s Table Syndicate; B-Phalaris SRL; T-Tony Cruz; J-Matthew Chadwick; HK$1,495,000.
Margins: 2, 1 1/4, NO. Odds: 2-5, 13-2, 15-1.
Also Ran: Moments In Time (Chi), Senor Toba (Aus), Russian Emperor (Ire), Straight Arron (Aus). Click for the HKJC chart, PPs and sectional timing.

The post Road Warrior Rebel’s Romance Romps In Champions and Chater Cup appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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