Appleby’s Al Quoz Power Hand

Appleby looks for 3rd Al Quoz win with loaded fleet

Developments may change. The trainer will not. Charlie Appleby, winner of the Al Quoz Sprint in 2018 and 2019, saddles three of the most logical winners in Creative Force, Man Of Promise and Naval Crown.

Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana

While the race features four Gr1 winners, it is the horse with one lone Gr3 score to his name, Man Of Promise, that gets top billing. In his last race on Super Saturday, the five-year-old gelding was an eye-popping four and three-quarter length victor in the Gr 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint up the stands side. That performance left Appleby thoroughly impressed.

“William [Buick] slid off him on Super Saturday and said that if he does that again in three weeks’ time we have the winner of the Al Quoz Sprint,” said the trainer. “His work on Tuesday was identical to the one before Super Saturday, so we felt William had to be on him.

“But Man Of Promise has to prove he can do it at this level, which Creative Force has already showed he can do.”

When last seen in October at Ascot, Creative Force was an easy winner of the Gr1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes and was put away with the Al Quoz in mind. With preparations quietly completed at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, it was left to Buick to decide who he would pilot Saturday night.

“It wasn’t an easy choice and these choices are a privilege to have, but they also take a bit of thinking through,” he said. “We all saw Man Of Promise on Super Saturday and he was very impressive. He’s done that twice this season now, he keeps backing it up and everyone is very happy with him at home. Creative Force is a Group 1 winner but I went with the horse that had the track experience and race fitness. I wouldn’t necessarily be saying that there is too much between them and I wouldn’t say that my decision is an indicator of who has the better chance.”

The third of the three Godolphin blue entrants is Naval Crown, a winner two starts back at Meydan Racecourse in the Gr2 Al Fahidi Fort over 1400m. The four-year-old Dubawi homebred has shown he has the ability and attracts the services of Frankie Dettori in the irons.

“We’re going to ride him a bit differently to how we did in Saudi, when he had a wide draw and was forced to hit the lids early,” said Appleby. “Personally, I think he’s going to run a really big race.”

Second behind Man Of Promise on Super Saturday was A Case of You who will break from post 16 for trainer Ado McGuiness.

“I think we have him where we want him,” reported the Irish handler. “He will improve from his last run when he was second to Man Of Promise on Super Saturday but we will need to get closer to that horse, he was over four lengths ahead of us! But I think he has a few pounds of improvement in him. The prep has gone well and he has settled in well to Dubai; much more settled than he was for his first run here.”

Extravagant Kid won this race last year for America and his compatriots Casa Creed, trained by Bill Mott, and Get Smokin, prepared by Mark Casse, try their luck this time. Casa Creed was a tough luck second in the Gr3 1351 Turf Sprint Cup in Saudi and he should be arriving late as the front runners begin to tire. The other American, Get Smokin, has his mind set on speed and will try and lead them from post 10 with jockey Flavien Prat receiving the call for the first time.

The last time a filly or mare was victorious in this race was 2012 when Ortensia triumphed for Australia and three take their chance here. All will receive a two-kilogram allowance and all would not be without a chance.

Air De Valse was beaten just a nose by A Case of You in the aforementioned G1 Prix de l’Abbaye and picks up the services of Mickael Barzalona. Happy Romance was the unlucky third in the three-horse photo in Saudi Arabia, just passed by Casa Creed, and this time is reunited with regular rider Sean Levey, while Suesa, a Group 2 winner at Goodwood last summer for trainer Francois Rohaut, has the co-highest official rating in the race at 119.

Japan is yet to win the Al Quoz, but they will be represented this year by Gr1 winner Lauda Sion and Entscheiden who was third behind Space Blues in the Gr1 Qatar Prix de la Foret last October.

The final Gr1 winner in the field is Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana who should come on well after tiring in her first start of the year behind Man of Promise last time.

  • The Al Quoz Sprint is race four on the card, with a scheduled off time of 15h35.

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