Five-year-old mare Dar Re Mi, with new rider William Buick aboard, outlasted Buena Vista and Spanish Moon to capture the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) in the race preceding the World Cup at Meydan Racecourse March 27.
In her first start since a third-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's British-bred Dar Re Mi defeated Buena Vista by about three-quarters of a length in the 2,400-meter (about 1 1/2 miles) event sponsored by Guangsha Group.
"This is right up there with winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and for me, the English Derby (Eng-I)," winning trainer John Gosden said immediately after the race. "But to be here on opening night, it was incredible."
He said it was especially noteworthy for the daughter of Singspiel--Darara, by Top Ville, to win the prestigious race after so long a layoff because of a bitter winter in Great Britain that hampered her preparation.
"It's remarkable for the filly to make it so early in the year," Gosden said. "I'm just over the moon."
The 21-year-old Buick was making his first grade I appearance as Gosden's new stable rider.
"I told William to get a nice position but to sit and chill on the bend as it’s a long way home and I’m delighted that he did not panic," Gosden said. "That’s his first winner for me and hopefully the start of a long relationship.”
Dar Re Mi, breaking from the 14th post, stalked in about fourth position toward the outside as American hope Presious Passion set a stiff pace ahead of Golden Sword. Presious Passion would begin to give way on the final turn as Golden Sword took the lead briefly, but Cavalryman grabbed control in the stretch before yielding late. Spanish Moon and Dar Re Mi were both on the move, with Dar Re Mi gaining a narrow advantage in the final 400 meters.
The Japanese-bred filly Buena Vista also loomed into contention in the drive, rallying in time to nip Spanish Moon for the runner-up spot.
Dar Re Mi went off at odds of 12-1 in the United States.
“She broke well and was always giving me so much confidence and then she found another gear at the end," Buick said. "A lot can happen in these races. We need a bit of luck, but I was always feeling good about the race. In fact, she just kept feeling better and better.
Buick said he tracked Frankie Dettori on Cavalryman.
"Though we well behind early, I knew he’d know all about the pace around here," he said.
Olivier Peslier, aboard Buena Vista, noted, “She traveled well and ran well. It was a very tough race and a tough turf track.”
Ryan Moore, looking crestfallen after the ride on Spanish Moon, said: “He never lets you down. He just found two horses too good today.”
Presious Passion faded to last in the 16-horse field. “He didn’t take to the course, said jockey Elvis Trujillo. "It was just a little soft. He wasn’t way out in front like usual.”
With Saudi Arabian-trained Deem in fourth it was a triumph for mares, filling three of the first four places. Then came Cavalryman, Eastern Anthem, Pan River, Youmzain, Campanologist, Pompeyano, Anmar, Quijano, Mourilyan, Golden Sword, Jukebox Jury and Presious Passion.
Bred by Watership Down Stud, Dar Re Mi improved her career mark to 6-4-4 in 16 starts and boosted her earnings to $4,318,005 with the winner's share of $3 million. The bay mare won three group I races in succession last year -- the Pretty Polly, the Yorkshire Oaks, and the Prix Vermeille -- before running fifth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) Oct. 4, finishing 3 1/4 lengths behind the victorious See The Stars.
She followed that with her fine effort in the Breeders' Cup Turf, in which she overcame a bump at the three-sixteenths pole to rally willingly for third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Conduit.