By Nicholas Godfrey
USA: UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance will not run in the Kentucky Derby – but the Godolphin colt is set for US Classic action with the Belmont Stakes on his agenda on June 5.
Trainer Charlie Appleby revealed the decision on Wednesday, saying: “Having spoken to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, we feel he needs more time and he will now be aimed at the last leg of the US Triple Crown, the G1 Belmont Stakes.”
The Kentucky Derby was mentioned as under discussion for Rebel’s Romance after a runaway 5½-length victory in the UAE Derby on the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan on March 27 and he was quoted on the 16-1 mark by British bookmakers.
In second place behind the gelded son of Dubawi that day was Panadol, who was added to the list of Triple Crown entries at the most recent entry stage.
Rebel’s Romance, who has won four of his five starts, was already on the list but Godolphin have joint-favourite Essential Quality to carry their colours at Churchill Downs on May 1.
Instead, Rebel’s Romance will bid to emulate the Dermot Weld-trained Go And Go, who became the first and only European-trained horse to win a US Classic when he claimed the mile-and-a-half Belmont in 1990 under Mick Kinane.