Dubai Sheema Classic Preview: Harp Star and Moore can call the tune
Harp Star has a real touch of class and is taken to land a stellar renewal of the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan today (4.15), now partnered by Ryan Moore for the first time.
Trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda, the four-year-old has won four of her nine starts, including the Japanese 1,000 Guineas.
The daughter of Deep Impact was sent off the 30/100 favourite to land the country’s Oaks on the back of that success, and despite being beaten put in an incredible performance.
Jockey Yuga Kawada employed exaggerated waiting tactics, and the pair had around 15 lengths to make up at the top of the straight with just two furlongs to run.
Harp Star then took off down the outside when finally asked for her effort and closed all the way to the line to go down by just a 1/4 of a length to Nuovo Record.
The daughter of Deep Impact then got back to winning in the Group 2 Sapporo Kinen when ridden more conventionally, before once again being given too much to do when sixth of 20 to Treve in last year’s Arc.
Harp Star was ridden as if she were Pegasus, and was last and miles off the pace as the field turned for home.
Regular rider Kugawa then switched her out wide to make a move, and Harp Star flew home to be beaten just 4 1/2 lengths.
She finished just 2 lengths behind the runner-up Flintshire who re-opposes today, and given how the race panned out I would expect Harp Star to turn the tables now partnered by Moore.
There is no better big race jockey in the business, and he can be guaranteed to have Harp Star in the right place at the right time.
Although Harp Star could finish only fifth at Kyoto last month in her prep for this, she was not knocked about and the outing should have put her spot on for this.
The aforementioned Flintshire looks an obvious danger, along with USA challenger Main Sequence.
This pair came first and second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last season, with the Graham Motion-trained Main Sequence getting the better of Andre Fabre’s charge by 1/2 a length.
Main Sequence, who finished second to Camelot in the 2012 Derby when trained by David Lanigan, has been a revelation since moving to America.
The six-year-old is unbeaten in five starts, and looked as good as ever in the last of those when landing a Grade 2 at Gulfstream Park last month.
However, he big question is whether Main Sequence will prove as effective now running without the anti-bleeding medication Lasix which is not permitted in Dubai?
For that reason I am keen to oppose, and expect Flintshire to give Harp Star the most to think about.