Ryan Moore rides Gentildonna in Dubai Sheema Classic

Ryan Moore will be reunited with his Japan Cup winner Gentildonna in next week’s Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan where he will face Magician, on whom he excelled when winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf last year.

Both horses gave Moore memorable big-race successes in the space of 22 days in November, but with trainer Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph in line to partner Magician and Sir Michael Stoute not having any entries in the 1m4f Group 1, Gentildonna’s connections have snapped up the rider considered by many the world’s finest.

Gentildonna, the only horse to win her country’s most prestigious race twice, is Coral’s 3-1 favourite for the Sheema Classic, although William Hill and bet365 have her at 7-2 with Magician.

The star mare was second to Magician’s ill-fated former stablemate St Nicholas Abbey in the Sheema Classic last year, but has had a prep this time round.

That did not go entirely to plan when she was only sixth of 12 in a Grade 2 at Kyoto last month, but trainer Sei Ishizaka is pleased with her progress and is delighted to have Moore on his side.

He said: “I’m happy to hear that he will ride her again. She is fresh and has trained satisfactorily.”

Gentildonna’s opposition also includes the Roger Varian-trained Ambivalent, last seen finishing second in the Bosphorus Cup.

“She’s training well and is due to ship on Saturday,” Varian said on Tuesday.

“She loves fast ground and runs so well abroad. She’s going to have to improve a pound or two, but she’s a year older and that’s not impossible. I think the track and ground will suit her.”

Ambivalent, a top-level winner in the Pretty Polly Stakes, is a 25-1 shot.

Source: Racing Post, 18 March 2014

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