Rewilding stormed down the center of the course to capture the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic Sponsored by China Guangsha (UAE-IT) at Meydan Racecourse March 26. It was the third win on the Dubai World Cup undercard for Godolphin.
A 4-year-old colt by Tiger Hill, Rewilding became the second foal out of the mare Darara to win the Sheema Classic. The mare’s champion daughter, Dar Re Mi, won this race in 2010.
Settled in mid-division by jockey Frankie Dettori, Rewilding was content to race off the early lead that was set by Rulership. Laaheb tracked him closely in second, with Deem sitting just off that pair in third.
Rulership continued to lead as the field entered the far turn, but several contenders were now beginning to make their move. At the top of the home straight, Rulership ran out of gas and began to fade, as Laaheb assumed the lead. He was soon challenged by Redwood, and the Juddmonte Farm runner quickly put Laaheb away and he looked well on his way to victory under jockey Michael Hills.
Rewilding, who had been kept in the clear on the outside by Dettori for much of the race, made smooth progress on the turn and had built up a full head of steam for the stretch run. The bay colt came flying down the center of the course, blowing past Redwood and drawing off in the final yards to win easily by 3 1/4 lengths.
Redwood held onto second by a neck over Calvados Blues. Laaheb was fourth; the two U.S. runners, Bourbon Bay and Champ Pegasus were 11th and 12th, respectively.
The final time for the 12-furlongs was 2:29.01 over a turf course listed as good.
Trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, Rewilding now has captured four of eight lifetime starts. The $3 million winner’s share of the purse increased his overall earnings to $3,455,646.
Rewilding entered the Sheema Classic having not run since disappointing as the favorite in the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) last September. After today’s race, Al Zarooni told reporters, “He’s not a horse who can run every two or three weeks, and His Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) decided he should run fresh in the Sheema Classic and not run at the Carnival beforehand.
“He’s a very big horse and the race will have taken a lot out of him, you have to treat him very carefully, like a filly.”
Rewilding, sent off as the 5-2 favorite, paid $7.80 to win and $3 to place. There was no show wagering.
Rewilding was bred in England by Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud.