Sibelius Primed for Shaheen Defence


There were unforgettable scenes at the 2023 Dubai World Cup when Sibelius stormed along the rail to deny Switzerland in a thrilling edition of the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen.

It was trainer Jerry O’Dwyer’s biggest win to date and it launched him onto the world stage. The US-based Irishman now plans to do it again, with Sibelius prepped and ready to defend his title on March 30th. First though, he’s keen to reminisce.

“I thought he had a good shot,” he says of last year’s race. “Everybody I spoke to thought he belonged there and that he was stepping up at the right time. I got a lot of confidence when he won the Pelican Stakes as they said if you like that track at Tampa then you’ll like Dubai.”

The win wasn’t for the fainthearted; just a nose separated Sibelius and Ryan Moore from 2022 winner Switzerland and Tadhg O’Shea – ironically a good friend of O’Dwyer.

“I’d be lying if I said I thought I was going to win. They were a solid group and that was the first time I’ve seen him that far out of his ground in a race. For him to rally like that along the rail was a testament to the horse and the jockey. He wants to win and he knows how to win.”

After Dubai, the wins were a little hard to come by and Sibelius suffered three straight losses.

“We took a step back with him after a couple of defeats and then he was fifth in Kentucky [G2 Ogden Phoenix Stakes] which showed me he was still there, numbers wise. We re-edited our plan so that getting back to Dubai was the main aim.”


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