Thrilling G1 Al Quoz victory for Jungle Cat
In-form Jungle Cat showed a tremendous turn of foot to win the G1 Al Quoz Sprint over six furlongs on turf on Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan, UAE, on Saturday, 31 March.
Jungle Cat, a six-year-old son of Iffraaj also trained by Charlie Appleby, came into the race unbeaten in two runs at Meydan this year.
He followed up victory in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort over seven furlongs in February with a storming success to set a new course record time in the six-furlong Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint on Super Saturday, 10 March.
Drawn in 10 of the 13 runners, James Doyle held up Jungle Cat in 10th before switching him right to be the closest horse to the stands’ rail.
Jungle Cat was asked to improve with over two furlongs remaining and ran on strongly to lead inside the final furlong to beat American raider Stormy Liberal, winner of the 2017 G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, by a half-length in 1m 9.37s.
Another American challenger, Conquest Tsunami, was a further length and half back in third.
Jungle Cat finished fourth in the 2017 Al Quoz Sprint. Charlie Appleby, welcoming his first Dubai World Cup Night winner, commented: “I am delighted with Jungle Cat.
“As soon as I heard that Blue Point was scratched, I kept composed and knew that Jungle Cat was in the best form of his life. The team have done a fantastic job and the horse deserved to win a race like this.
“From halfway, I knew that Jungle Cat was in a good rhythm. They had gone a good gallop and they were always going to come back to him. I am absolutely thrilled for the horse.
“I fancied him for this race last year, but the rain turned up and that was his chance gone. He is a G1 winner now and I am very proud of him.
“The Dubai World Cup Carnival has gone so well but tonight is all about international racing and it has gone great – we have seen some good winners – but I am very relieved and proud to be able to put one on the board for myself.
“It’s a great team effort and I am delighted for Godolphin and H H Sheikh Mohammed.”
James Doyle declared: “I was gutted for William when I got to the start and saw that Blue Point was pulled out – I know how much he was looking forward to riding him, but these things happen.
“I am delighted with Jungle Cat, what a star he is! He started off winning the Al Fahidi Fort and then won the sprint here on Super Saturday, beating Ertijaal.
“He turned up here today and ran like he did – you can set your clock by him, he is such a dream to ride out and deal with in the mornings. He really is brilliant.
“Charlie’s horses have been in tremendous form right the way through the season here and he has done a fantastic job in keeping them at that level. Full credit to all the team for that as well. I am delighted for Charlie and it is great for him.”
William Buick added: “I didn’t notice anything different with Blue Point tonight. He was really relaxed and everything went as we would have hoped for in a best scenario.
“The vet noticed a trickle of blood from his nose down the start and Blue Point obviously couldn’t run after that.
“It’s great for James. I thought that I would win with Blue Point but, as soon as he was out, I was cheering for Jungle Cat. It’s disappointing for myself, but at least we won with another horse.”