Jungle Cat recorded his third career victory on the turf of Meydan, UAE, when enjoying his biggest success in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort over seven furlongs on Thursday, 1 February.
Partnered by James Doyle, the Charlie Appleby-trained six-year-old Iffraaj horse was well away and raced a bit keenly in second on the outside behind the leader Janoobi.
He ranged up into a challenging position approaching the final quarter-mile and hit the front entering the final furlong.
Jungle Cat ran on well to beat Janoobi by three quarters of a length in a fast time 1m 22.40s, just 0.08s outside the track record on ground described as good.
Another Godolphin runner, Dream Castle (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave), who raced in fourth and threw down a challenge at the distance, was another half-length back in third with the third Godolphin representative D’Bai (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) plugging on into fourth, a further two and quarter lengths adrift.
Charlie Appleby said: “I am delighted with Jungle Cat and I am delighted for James.
“James is a big team player and has put in a lot of home work on this horse.
“There was pace on, and we were right on it. I said that if we are in a box seat position, it will turn into a sprint in the straight and sprinting was always this horse’s game in the past. James has given him a great ride.
“Seven furlongs is Jungle Cat’s trip now. He is getting older and over six furlongs he just hits a bit of a flat spot these days before staying on at the line. He appreciated the step up to seven furlongs.
“Where do we go now? We will have to see. I would imagine we may have to might have to come back in trip as options over this distance are a bit limited. I don’t think he will see out a mile as he races a bit too freely.
“Jungle Cat has danced the dance and all the first three home today are proven Group horses. A flat track suits him
“D’Bai was stepping up in class today and that is a big ask. He is a horse that is probably better in a bigger field – he likes the hustle and bustle and not seeing too much daylight.”
James Doyle, riding his first winner of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, explained: “It is great to get off the mark for the year and doing it in a G2 – I will take that all day!
“It is hard not to love Jungle Cat. I’ve been sitting in him at Marmoom and getting to know him. “I said to Charlie he is in good form and he tanked round the track with me in his latest piece of work. He showed his wellbeing tonight and was in a good position.
“William (Buick) has some tough decisions to make in some of these races and it shows the strength in depth of Charlie’s horses out here. It’s a nice position to be when you can ride the horses William doesn’t fancy.
“Jungle Cat was stepping up to seven today, which he has run over a few times before. The sun on his back out here has helped.
“He has been keen at home in the mornings and from a slightly awkward gate in stall six tonight I had to decide whether to try and come back in or let him stroll forward.
“He was a little bit gassy, but once I got him into position I was able to get a nice breather into him in the turn. William said don’t be afraid to let him go in the straight as he will see the trip out well – he was spot on.
“We went nice fractions without going crazy. But you can do it at Meydan as it is flat here.”
Benbatl leads home Godolphin Al Rashidiya clean sweep
Four-year-old Dubawi colt Benbatl continued his fine start to 2018 as he was the impressive winner from Bay Of Poets and Bravo Zolo to provide Godolphin with a 1-2-3 in the nine-furlong G2 Al Rashidiya on turf at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 1 February.
Benbatl, who made a winning return for trainer Saeed bin Suroor over the same course and distance in the G3 Singspiel Stakes on 11 January, tacked over from stall seven to settle in fourth towards the outside after a furlong and a half under Oisin Murphy.
He started to take closer order at the top of the straight, went second and soon took up the running.
Benbatl went clear of his six rivals to score easily by three and three quarter lengths after being eased down close home. His time was 1m 48.42s on good turf.
Bay Of Poets (James Doyle), one of two Charlie Appleby-trained runners in the field, stayed on to go second a furlong from home, with stable companion Bravo Zolo (William Buick) rallying to snatch third, a further two lengths in arrears.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “I was very happy with the performance of Benbatl tonight and he remains unbeaten this year.
“We will keep the options open and talk to Sheikh Mohammed, but there is the G1 Jebel Hatta (9f, Meydan) to consider on Super Saturday (10 March).”
Oisin Murphy added: “Benbal gave me a very good feel and all credit to Saeed and the team at home because he was in great shape. We got a nice trip and I was on the best horse.
“He has a great kick because is a very good horse and he is bred to be very good.
“Horses like this make a young jockey’s career and there isn’t a jockey in the world who wouldn’t want to ride a horse like Benbatl. I am only 22 and very lucky.”
fonte : Godolphin
Thursday’s fourth meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival was highlighted by the US$250,000 Al Fahidi Fort Sponsored by DP World-UAE Region (G2) and the 1400m turf contest was won decisively by Jungle Cat, completing a quick treble for Godolphin. Trained by Charlie Appleby, he was ridden by James Doyle and the pair were always prominent, tracking early leader Janoobi until committing for home halfway down the straight. After brief resistance from said game Mike De Kock-trained foe, Jungle Cat scratched his way to a gritty victory.
“This horse is something of a Carnival veteran now and never runs a bad race,” Appleby said. “He was fourth in the (1200m Group 1) Al Quoz Sprint in March, but we tried him over this 1400m in England and he stays it well. We now have to decide whether to try him over 1600m or drop back to 1200m because there is nothing else for him at this trip. I am delighted to give James his first Carnival winner this year because he is a big part of the team.”
Doyle added: “This horse has a big following at Meydan where he has become a regular and is a big favourite at home, so this is a great result. I am not sure where he will go next; perhaps we could try 1600m, but we know he is very capable over 1200m, so we the team have options with him and a decision to make.”
Earlier in the card, seven went to post for the main support race, the US$200,000 Al Rashidiya Sponsored by Jebel Ali Port (G2), but from a long way out, there was only going to be one winner with Godolphin’s Benbatl supplying Saeed bin Suroor a sixth win in the race. The 1800m event was first contested in 2000.
Confidently ridden by Oisin Murphy, he quickened to the front halfway up the straight and was never in any danger afterward. This effort followed an equally impressive course and distance win in the Singspiel Stakes (G3) on the first night of the carnival three weeks ago. Benbatl led home a Godolphin 1-2-3 with the Charlie Appleby duo, Bay of Poets and Bravo Zolo second and third.
“He is a horse we have always really liked and he has won this well tonight, following up his course and distance win in the Singspiel Stakes on the first night of the carnival,” bin Suroor said. “Obviously we will have to talk to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, but the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday and then hopefully the Dubai Turf (G1) on (Dubai) World Cup night, both over this course and distance, would be the obvious targets.”
Murphy added: “He gave me a great feel throughout the race and well done to Saeed and his team, who have produced him here tonight in great form. We were drawn widest in seven, but they went quickly enough so that was not an issue as I was able to settle him and get a lead. This is a seriously nice horse and, as he showed again here, he has a serious turn-of-foot, which is a potent weapon in these races.”
The Mina Rashid, a 1600m dirt handicap, may only have attracted five runners, but it looked a quality heat, making the victory by Godolphin’s Boynton all the more impressive under William Buick. Winner of the Superlative Stakes (G2) at two in 2016, he had not won since. Gelded since his previous run, in November, he was soon in front here and chased throughout by well-regarded Doug Watson trainee Kimbear. Turning for home, Buick’s mount was soon in control and out-kicked said foe, with the pair well clear of the rest in the end.
“He broke a fraction slowly, but once into his stride, we were always going strongly and I was able to get a bit of a breather into him which helped,” Buick said. “When I asked him to go again, he responded very well and that was a good performance. The whole team have always held this horse in the highest regard and he has been training very well on dirt at home, but this was his first race on it. His pedigree suggested it would suit and it certainly has. A fast-run 1600m is ideal for him, but he does stay 2000m, so there are plenty of options for him.”
Appleby added: “It is nice to see him get his head back in front and I think gelding him has really helped. I imagine we will stick to 1600m for now with the Firebreak Stakes the next logical target.”
The meeting began with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 Sponsored By Mina Hamriya, over 2200m on the dirt and, just as had the 1600m first round three weeks ago, it developed into a duel between Paddy’s Day and Barnamaj, with the latter proving best in the end in an exciting photo finish.
Winning jockey Jim Crowley said: “He ran a great race first time on his dirt debut when showing he handles the surface and he stayed every yard of the longer trip tonight. Over this longer distance, I was pretty confident coming here tonight and the horse has delivered in gutsy fashion. Remember, it was only his second dirt outing and he is still learning about racing on a different surface.”
UAE champion trainer Watson may have been denied on that occasion but was in the winner’s enclosure after the Mina Rashid Marina, a 1400m dirt handicap, in which Drafted finished fast and late to snatch victory under Sam Hitchcott.
Hitchcott said: “He is a very straightforward to ride because he does not mind the kickback, so you can take your time on him and take the shortest route home. The extra 200m might have been a query, but he has really stayed on strongly and won that well.”
The Jafza, a 1200m turf handicap, produced a desperately close finish with Jordan Sport making up for being narrowly denied in a three-way photo finish over 1000m last week by winning his own photo-finish over late-charging Godolphin pupil Steady Pace.
Winning rider Gerard Mosse said: “My horse went very quick early on and I was trying to keep something in the locker for late on. The second horse was coming at us in the final strides and, at the line, it was very close, but my horse had his head down when it mattered. With 200m to go, I was still travelling very strongly. In the last 100m, the horse was telling me he was getting tired, so I was delighted to get to the line still ahead.”
The concluding Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, a 2410m turf handicap, produced an exciting victory by Godolphin’s bin Suroor-trained Gold Star, who produced a belated rally under Christophe Soumillon to win by a short head over Appleby-trained banner-mate Walton Street.
“He had to be a very good horse to win the way we did,” Soumillon said. “He gave me a great effort.”
On another night flush with royal blue in the winner’s enclosure, the final tally was four wins for Godolphin, with two each for bin Suroor and Appleby
fonte : DRC