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World Of Opportunities Await UAE Derby Winner Rebel’s Romance
Credit: Erika Rasmussen

World Of Opportunities Await UAE Derby Winner Rebel’s Romance

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Rebel’s Romance realised the promise that his connections hoped he would when the son of Dubawi ran out an emphatic winner of the US $750,000 UAE Derby Sponsored by Emirates NBD. 

Trained by Charlie Appleby, ridden by William Buick and carrying the familiar blue colours of Godolphin, Rebel’s Romance opened up a world of opportunities for himself when coming from off the pace to reel in the front-running Panadol and draw an impressive five and a half lengths clear as they flashed past the winning post. 

It was a first UAE Derby success for Appleby and Buick and a first success on the night for Godolphin. Charlie Appleby admitted talk of a possible tilt at the Kentucky Derby next was “a nice conversation to be having” after Rebel’s Romance put his first career defeat in Saudi Arabia behind him in the best possible fashion and looks set to be a horse who will write many more headlines in 2021. 

This UAE Derby success certainly looks set to be a springboard to a bright future for Rebel’s Romance with Appleby saying after the race: “We’ll be working back from the Dubai World Cup next year” when speaking about future plans. 

Reflecting on his latest big race win on Dubai World Cup night, Appleby said: “He is still very much a work in progress and he looked much better tonight than he did in Saudi Arabia. I think the biggest attribute to him today is that he was going to stay. We were always confident he was going to stay. Stepping up in trip was going to be his forte.”

Rebel’s Romance had won both his starts in Britain on the all-weather surfaces at Newcastle and then Kempton late last year before beginning a lucrative campaign by winning the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan back in January. 

Appleby continued: “We’ve all seen year-in and year-out here, you can’t do well with your European horses until they start racing on [dirt]. It’s invaluable the experience they gain on it and he had his two starts on the surface and it was always our plan. When you see your horses wide on the back of that turn, you start to worry, but he was always travelling so well into it. Down the back straight I saw half of them coming under the pump and I thought ‘don’t worry, he’s just coming good at the right time now.’ It’s great for the team. Most importantly it’s good for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, who has a lovely horse win on Dubai World Cup night. I’m just delighted we’ve managed to put one into the back of the net.”

Buick said: “I was always where I thought I would be. He breaks a little bit slow, so I never thought I would be up there. He doesn’t have much speed early and I was quite happy with the draw because I knew I could control where I would be and I did. Once I got out, he just bolted. I was a little bit worried I was getting there a little early; a little too quick, but that was some performance tonight. He’s really come on and he’s a big horse, but he’s still a shell. He really knows how to use his power now.”

The UAE Derby is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Rebel’s Romance earned 100 points for the win, with Panadol receiving 40 for second, New Treasure 20 for third, and Takeru Pegasus 10 for fourth.


Salem bin Ghadayer, trainer, PANADOL (2nd) – “I’m so happy, I mean 1:56 – the time! We got beaten by a better horse. For Panadol, this is his third start, a Listed race on his second start and now a Group 2. I couldn’t be more happier than this. I still believe in his ability and I’m pretty sure we are going to have something amazing (in store) for him next season. He’s a small baby, this is his third start. He was a late horse, we broke him at the end of September (2020). I think he has a lot of things left to show. I am really looking forward to next season.”

Jockey Mickael Barzalona – “He’s a very straight-forward horse, he is very fast out of the gate. We travelled well in front, he just got beat by a better horse today. This is the first time he had a proper race. He’s quite a one-paced horse, he stayed on the same pace all the way until the end. He just got beat by a good horse today.” 

Thady Gosden, joint-trainer, NEW TREASURE (3rd) – “He ran a brilliant race. He obviously ran in Saudi Arabia before but that race was not nearly as impressive as this one. The winner is obviously very good and we’re just thrilled he ran so well.”

Ryan Moore, jockey, TAKERU PEGASUS (4th) – “My horse ran a good race, he just needs a bit further. He tries really had, he’s brave and has a big heart. Stamina is his thing and a slower tempo would help.”

Ryan Curatolo, jockey, MOUHEEB (5th) – “I broke in a good position, the speed was on, I was able to keep my position and thought I would be behind the leader but today he was not sharp enough. It seems that this distance might be too long for this horse but it was still a good run from him.”

Joel Rosario, jockey, FRANCE GO DE INA (6th) – “He was nervous inside the gate, I tried to calm him and he was OK. He didn’t go forward.  Definitely the break was key.”

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