Dubai World Cup: Equinox produces Meydan magic under Christophe Lemaire to win Sheema Classic | Racing News

Equinox justified his status as the best turf horse in the world, smashing the Meydan mile-and-a-half track record in landing the $6m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic.

Christophe Lemaire’s mount did it the hard way, his white face leading all the way and stretching to a scintillating three-and-a-half-length victory.

The Tetsuya Kimura-trained colt, a son of Japanese sire Kitasan Black, had won the Tenno Sho in Tokyo in October and was having his first run since landing the Arima Kinen on Christmas Day.

But that pair of Group One successes paled into insignificance as Lemaire’s charge cruised on the front end, tracked by the John and Thady Gosden-trained Mostahdaf under Jim Crowley.

Lemaire always had any move covered, though, and he kicked clear with two furlongs to run and, eased down, lowered the track record by over a second.

Ralph Beckett’s Irish Derby winner Westover, who had got warm beforehand, made up some ground and finished with a flourish, but the bird had long since flown. Zagrey stayed on to pip Mostahdaf for third, but this was all about the brilliance of the winner.

Equinox and Christophe Lemaire bolt up in the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic
Equinox and Lemaire bolt up in the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic

Kimura said: “I have never seen such a strong horse and I am surprised as well. I really appreciated it that the Dubai Racing Club have invited us and I really appreciate it.

“I didn’t think about the tactics. My concern was just to get my horse in the best condition.

“He was just brilliant when he came into my yard as a two-year-old. I am not sure where he will run next.”

Beckett was thrilled with Westover, and can look forward to a big season ahead.

He said: “We just got beaten by a very, very good horse. He appears to be the best around, so to finish second to him is everything we could have hoped for.

“The Coronation Cup is a possible target, but I wouldn’t rule out dropping him back to 10 furlongs for an Eclipse or a Tattersalls Gold Cup.”

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