03/26/2010 11:00PM

Dar Re Mi returns in top form

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - After training Dar Re Mi in Britain all winter, trainer John Gosden was anxious to get his star turf mare to Dubai. Jockey William Buick also could not wait for World Cup Day to arrive.

Buick was announced as Gosden's first-call rider in January. In his first major ride for his new base, Buick, 20, rode Dar Re Mi to a stylish win in the $5 million Sheema Classic at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.

The victory pushed Dar Re Mi even higher on the list of the world's top turf marathoners. The Sheema was her first start since a third in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita last November.

Gosden was ecstatic with the performance, considering that he opted to train Dar Re Mi at his base in Newmarket, England, instead of bringing her to Dubai for the winter. She arrived for the Sheema last week.

"I think it was quite a challenge," Gosden said of the conditions in England. "But I think she enjoys the weather here."

Dar Re Mi, 5, led an all-female exacta in the Sheema, holding off a late run from the Japanese filly Buena Vista to win by three-quarters of a length.

Dar Re Mi was fifth on the first turn, well behind Presious Passion who led by about three or four lengths through the first six furlongs. Presious Passion, who won the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream Park last month, faded from contention on the final turn and ran last of 16.

In the stretch, Spanish Moon, fourth in the BC Turf last fall, took the lead, but was caught in the final furlong by Dar Re Mi, who was timed in 2:31.84 for about 1 1/2 miles, or 2,400 meters. She paid $26.20 in U.S. pools

"She gave me so much confidence," Buick said. "I was aware of everything coming at me."

Buena Vista, 4, rallied late to finish a head in front of Spanish Moon.

"It's wonderful to see the fillies run one-two," Gosden said. "I'm delighted the way she ran. The good ole American horse set the pace and she ran a tremendous race."

Dar Re Mi, a Singspiel mare who races for composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, has won 6 of 16 starts and $4,318,005.