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Gentlidonna Puts In Gutsy Performance for Dubai Sheema Classic Victory

Gentildonna (JPN)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

The dual Japan Cup-winning Japanese mare, Gentildonna made up for her unlucky second in this same race last year with a record-breaking win in the Dubai Sheema Classic, presented by Longines (2400m) this time around.
She crossed the line in 2:27:25, a length and a half to the good of the French veteran Cirrus Des Aigles and Christophe Soumillon.
Moore settled the mare just off the pace, but had to use all his guile and persuasion to drive the 5y/o home ahead of one of the best fields yet assembled for the $US5 million race.
Last year she was beaten a length and a half by the Aidan O’Brien –trained St.Nicholas Abbey, when ridden by Yasunari Iwata.
Moore rode Gentildonna for the first time in her win in last year’s Japan Cup and has obviously developed a rapport with her, despite admitting after last night’s race that she was not the easiest horse – to ride.
“It’s hard to know just how good she is because when she gets to the front she doesn’t do a lot, but she’s very tough, and a hard horse to get to the bottom of,’’ Moore said.
Gentildonna has now won nine races with three seconds and a third from her 15 starts.
In an incident-packed race Gentildonna won by a length and a half from the French-trained veteran Cirrus Des Angles with English mare Ambivalent a half a length away in third.

The start was delayed for some minutes when Ambivalent, who is renowned for her pre-race antics, refused to go into the starting stalls and the attendants had to finally place a hood on her to get her into the gates.
About 400m after the start, the Mike de Kock-trained Mars veered out sharply causing interference to two other runners before crashing through the outside running rail.
Jockey Richard Hughes escaped with cuts and bruises and was momentarily winded after landing on his back. He was taken to hospital for precautionary x-rays.
In an amazing night’s racing, all four events run on the turf track produced track records.
Gentildonna’s time for the 2400m of 2:27.25 shaved 0.25 off the previous record.
Owner Shon Yoshida from Japan’s famous Northern Farm said he was not sure where Gentildonna would be heading next but there were no thoughts of retiring her this year.