Jun Park and Delia Nash’s Sibelius (Not This Time), winner of his last two Florida starts including Gulfstream’s GIII Mr. Prospector S., is headed to Dubai to run in the G1 Golden Shaheen Mar. 25 at Meydan Racecourse.
“We have accepted an invitation to go to Dubai,” trainer Jerry O’Dwyer said. “He came out of his last race good and is doing really well.”
Sibelius, the winner of the Lite the Fuse S. at Pimlico last fall, followed up his New Year’s Eve Mr. Prospector score with another victory in the Pelican S. at Tampa Feb. 11.
“He put it all together that day,” O’Dwyer said. “The Mr. Prospector worked out a bit different than the way he had been running. He was in behind the speed getting dirt in his face and had to rate a little bit and then tip out and go do it. He had to do everything like a proper racehorse does. He didn’t get everything his own way.”
In the six-furlong Pelican, Sibelius set a stakes record 1:08.75, just .08 off the track record.
“I was very impressed with him, because he really had to battle off and fend off that other horse [Doctor Oscar] that put it to him the whole way,” O’Dwyer said. “He really had to dig in deep to put that horse away towards the wire.”
According to O’Dwyer, Sibelius will continue his preparations at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, before leaving for Dubai next month.
“He’ll have a couple breezes here at Palm Meadows and then he’ll ship out. He’ll probably have his last breeze on [Mar.] 10. He doesn’t need a lot of hard training,” he said. “He’ll have a couple of half-mile breezes. The plan is to breeze him on the 10th, check him over on the 11th and, if all is well, get on the plane on the 12th. He might have a little blowout, maybe an easy three-eighths in :38 [seconds] or something, just to let him stretch his legs over the track out there.”
Previously, O’Dwyer traveled to Dubai in 2020 with Grade II winner Shotski, fourth in Gulfstream’s GII Fountain of Youth S., to contest the UAE Derby. The card was ultimately canceled following the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re excited. I love shipping horses, but I don’t like shipping them anywhere unless I think they’re live, and I do think he’s a very nice, genuine horse and hopefully, he can get a nice piece of it out there,” O’Dwyer said.
He added, “It was kind of our target all along if everything went according to plan,” he added. “Our long-term goal since the end of last year was to go to Dubai with him if he kept continuing to run well and progress.”