Sibelius earned his first Grade 1 win Saturday at Meydan when he made a thrilling run up the rail to win the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) by a nose over Switzerland.
Sibelius, who has won three stakes in a row and four overall, is the fourth lifetime Grade 1 winner for Not This Time. Sibelius’ big payday propelled Not This Time to the top of the 2023 Fourth-Crop sire list with more than $2.5 million in progeny earnings.
Sibelius, in post 1, broke a little tardy but recovered quickly and took up a spot in mid-pack along the rail. He had to check slightly going into the turn and fell back to ninth, but recovered nicely and made his way to fourth coming into the stretch. Under a ride for the length of the stretch, he squeezed by Gunite and Hopkins in deep stretch and then held off Switzerland, last year’s Shaheen winner, to get up just in time.
“The race worked out quite the way I had predicted,” said winning trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer. “You know you can read these races a hundred times but it will never go the same way. To be honest, he just sat back in the gates and was a bit slow but when you have a master rider like Ryan Moore, he gets you out of trouble. It really is a proud moment for us. I am grateful to the owners. They let me do what is best with the horse every step of the way and never interfere.”
Sibelius is owned by Jun Park and Delia Nash. Saturday’s win upped his record to 7-3-3 in 19 starts, with $1,651,283 in earnings. His prior stakes wins came in the 2022 Lite the Fuse S. at Pimlico and the Mr. Prospector S. (G3) on New Year’s Eve, then this year in the Pelican S. at Tampa Bay Downs in February.
Sibelius was bred by Taylor Brothers Properties LLC, Pollock Farm, Patrick Payne et al.
Sibelius, whose multiple stakes-placed half-sister Dypsy produced top Cal-bred sprinter and Malibu S. (G1) runner-up Edwards Going Left, is one of seven winners from 10 to race out of Fiery Pulpit, a half-sister to the talented Grade 3-winning turf distaffer Clamorosa.