Old Persian storms to Sheema Classic glory

OLD PERSIAN (GB) provided the British breeding industry with a keynote success on Dubai World Cup Night with victory in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic.

Owned and bred by Godolphin, the four-year-old son of DUBAWI showed a smart shift of gear in the hands of William Buick to cosily repel Japanese raiders Cheval Grand and Suave Richard.

Old Persian has won three Group 2 races, including last season’s King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, but this was his first triumph at the highest level.

Godolphin’s inmate is the first live foal out of SINGSPIEL mare INDIAN PETAL (GB) and a full sister to SILKWOOD (GB), who landed the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2007.

Old Persian’s trainer Charlie Appleby said:

“William made a concerted move on the turn to make sure he got out and I thought it was a fantastic ride.

“I’ve always been very fond of him, ever since his two-year-old days. He’s doing what we always hoped he would do one day.

“I’m not sure where this horse will go, but, thinking long term, we may have ParisLongchamp  (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe) on our minds.”


Awesome Avilius strikes again for Pivotal

AVILIUS (GB) on Saturday served notice that he could be the next superstar of Australian racing with a scintillating victory in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes at Rosehill.

Just seven days after he took control of the Ranvet Stakes at the same track – the first top-level success of his career – the five-year-old gelding repeated the dose in some style.

Bred and owned by Godolphin, Avilius cruised to a two-and-a-quarter-length victory under James McDonald in the mile-and-a-quarter Tancred Stakes.

Avilius, out of SUNDAY SILENCE mare ALESSANDRIA (GB), has been in inspired form since his switch to James Cummings’ yard, having previously been in the care of Andre Fabre.

He has now won eight times from just 11 outings in Australia and has only been beaten once in five starts in 2019.

Avilius is the 29th individual Group 1 winner for his sire, PIVOTAL (GB), who stands at Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket.

He is a full brother to the Group 2-winning SAINT BAUDOLINO, who also finished second in the 2012 French Derby, and a half-brother to Listed scorer ARMY BULLETIN.

Max McLoughlin, of Cheveley Park Stud, said:

“On his last two starts Avilius has looked like a machine. Like so many Pivotals, he is clearly getting better with age.

“From Cheveley Park’s perspective it’s a fantastic result. Pivotal is 26 now and is still going strong.

“There is always lots of attention on his daughters, but he showed last year that his sons, like BLAIR HOUSE and LIGHTNING SPEAR (GB), can really produce the goods.

“Avilius is Pivotal’s 29th individual Group 1 winner and hopefully it won’t be long before he hits 30.”

Gunthers relishing Team British Racing experience in Dubai

Credit: Dubai Racing Club / Erika Rasmussen

WITHOUT PAROLE (GB) is one of the stellar names in a strong Team British Racing squad on Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan on Saturday (March 30).

Trained in Newmarket by John Gosden and bred at Newsells Park Stud by owners John and Tanya Gunther, the four-year-old son of FRANKEL (GB) features in the Group 1 Dubai Turf over nine furlongs.

Without Parole will be having his first start for over 200 days, but the star colt, who last year won the Group 1 St James’s Palace House Stakes at Royal Ascot, is reported in rude health for his seasonal bow.

Tanya Gunther said:

“John is right up there as being one of the best trainers in the world and Without Parole would not be in Dubai if he was worried the horse was not fit enough.

“It’s a tough race – there’s ALMOND EYE in there and a bunch of other really nice horses – so we’re jumping in at the deep end a bit on his first start of the year.

“It’s going to be nervous times, and there’ll be a lot of fingers being crossed, but he has settled in well.

“This is our first time in Dubai and it’s fabulous to have a runner here. We are really looking forward to Without Parole representing Team British Racing at Meydan.

“All the hard work has been done. He looks well and he enjoys doing the job.”

Without Parole will be joined in the Dubai Turf line-up by fellow Team British Racing challenger LORD GLITTERS, trained in North Yorkshire by David O’Meara and owned by Geoff and Sandra Turnbull.

Team British Racing is also well represented in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic by DESERT ENCOUNTER, who last year emerged victorious in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine.

Newmarket trainer David Simcock said:

“He’s obviously been out here a while now and is ready for Saturday. He’s a very straightforward horse and we’re very happy with him.”

Fellow Team British Racing contender PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB) finished a brilliant third behind CROSS COUNTER (GB) in the Melbourne Cup last November and renews rivalry in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup over two miles.

The globetrotting six-year-old, owned by Saeed bel Obaida, finished eighth in the race twelve months ago and was a promising fourth in the Dubai City of Gold on ‘Super Saturday’ at Meydan on March 9.

Trainer Charlie Fellowes said:

“The journey continues. All is well with him and he had the perfect prep run. I could not have been happier with that as he did not have a hard run.

“That has put him spot-on for Saturday’s race, which is weaker than it was last year.

“Mentally, he’s in a better place than 12 months ago and when you consider we got beaten by Cross Counter in Melbourne, giving him 5lb, you’d have to say he is in with a shout.

“It’s nice to be involved with Team British Racing and it would be great to finish in the first three.”


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