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Sheema Classic headlines the turf events
News: By: Sharan Kumar
March 29 , 2024

The Dubai World Cup is complemented by two thrilling turf contests: the $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) and the $5 million Dubai Turf (G1), both boasting an impressive lineup of contenders. These races, held consecutively serve as perfect preludes to the Dubai World Cup.

In the penultimate spectacle of the evening, a field of 12 competitors, including the 2022 victor Shahryar, aspires to secure victory in the 2,400-meter challenge, aiming to etch their name in history as repeat champions. Shahryar leads a formidable Japanese contingent, accompanied by top fillies Liberty Island and Stars On Earth, who will vie against seasoned European contenders such as Breeders' Cup Turf winner Auguste Rodin and Coronation Cup star Emily Upjohn.

The G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (2400m) stood as the pinnacle event of 2023 worldwide thanks to Equinox. Although surpassing Equinox's stellar performance from the previous year seems daunting, Classic champions Auguste Rodin and Liberty Island are poised to deliver another sensational showdown this Saturday, promising a clash of titans.


The clash between these stellar four-year-olds encapsulates a multitude of captivating storylines, including the classic colt versus filly rivalry, alongside the convergence of top-notch Group 1 contenders from around the globe. Japan’s Shahryar squares off against the formidable Auguste Rodin in what anticipates to be a thrilling head-to-head encounter. Yet, the quest for dominance extends beyond these two superstars. With numerous contenders in the mix, the field brims with potential for sensational upsets.

Such is the strength of the lineup that Shahryar, the 2022 victor of this race, may draw less attention than the other formidable runners in the fray. Sharyar joins a formidable four-strong Japanese contingent led by Liberty Island, the reigning champion three-year-old filly whose sole defeat came at the hands of the invincible Equinox in the G1 Japan Cup (2400m).

Stars On Earth, previous winner of the G1 Yushun Himba (2400m) - the Japanese Oaks - also enters the fray, with last year's winning jockey Christophe Lemaire in the saddle.

Auguste Rodin, having solidified his status with notable victories during his three-year-old season, now faces a pivotal test at four. Trainer Aidan O'Brien expresses confidence in the colt's readiness for this season-opening challenge, eagerly anticipating his return to the track.

Once revered as the most eagerly anticipated race after the Dubai World Cup, the Dubai Turf (formerly known as the Dubai Duty Free) maintains its allure, with this year's edition poised to be one of the most exciting in recent memory.

The spotlight falls on Lord North in the 1,800-meter Gr 1 Dubai Turf, aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory under the guidance of the father-son training duo, John and Tady Gosden. However, formidable competitors await, including Arima Kinen victor Do Deuce, Charlie Appleby's Measured Time, and O'Brien's Luxembourg. Despite facing a competitive field, Lord North commands respect.

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