Unwanted Irish Speedster Wallops Them

Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint thriller

A Case Of You, the horse nobody wanted, struck a memorable victory for Ireland in the $1 500 000 Gr1 Al Quoz Sprint (sponsored by Azizi Developments) to spark emotional celebrations for his exultant connections.

Predictions the race would unfold when it mattered down the grandstand rail proved accurate as A Case Of You, drawn closest to the near side in gate 16, raced handily under his regular rider Ronan Whelan.

Ronan Whelan has A Case Of You in front when it counts most

The Hot Streak colt hit the front between the final two furlongs and never looked vulnerable thereafter, scoring by a length and a quarter from British raider Happy Romance to the glee of County Dublin trainer Ado McGuinness and his owners, led by longstanding client Gary Devlin, who whooped joyously in the Meydan parade ring.

The favoured Man Of Promise did not appear to have any particular excuse, but still ran with credit to be third, a neck further back.

A Case Of You, bred by Derek Iceton at Tara Stud, could not attract the reserve price of €3,000 at the Goffs Sportsman’s Sale as a yearling. He began his career with trainer John McConnell before selling privately to the McGuiness stable after winning the Gr3 Anglesey Stakes as a juvenile.

This was the second Gr1 win of his career having also landed the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp last October.

Winning trainer Ado McGuinness said: “I knew he had improved plenty from the last day. Ronan Whelan gave him a great ride, he was super cool.”

He continued: “Ian Brennan has looked after him out here and has done a great job with him. He’s a very, very good horse. We might get some credit now! People said it was a weak Abbaye he won but one thing is for sure it wasn’t a weak race today. He’s only four and he’ll only get better. I think he’ll win another Group 1 this year and the long-term target at the end of the year will be back at the Breeders’ Cup.”

A Case Of You’s jockey Ronan Whelan said: “I was worried I might be getting there a bit early but he was going so well. His last furlong is always his strongest and he’s such a tough and genuine horse. Five furlongs, six furlongs, soft ground, fast ground, it doesn’t matter to him. I love him. He came on so much from the prep run on Super Saturday. Having that experience stood to him and he improved so much from it. It means the world to all the team. To win such a big race at Meydan, it’s the stuff you dream of but don’t think will happen.”

Richard Hannon, trainer of runner-up Happy Romance, said: “I’m delighted with that, she’s run a really good race. You can’t be disappointed with that, she seems to be getting better and better and she’s earned us some really nice money.”

Happy Romance’s jockey Sean Levey added: “She ran a blinder. I thought the draw maybe cost me a length and I think she would have been bang there with a better draw. She’s run a blinder and the year is young.”

William Buick, rider of third-placed Man Of Promise, said: “He ran very well, I think that’s a career best really on form. I know he was really impressive last time but obviously the winner has come on for the last run but I was very happy with him all the way really.”

Charlie Appleby, trainer of Man Of Promise (third), Navan Crown (fourth) and Creative Force (14th), said: “I’m very pleased with Man Of Promise, he’s run a solid race again. Fair play to Ado McGuinness and his team as their horse has come on again and they got the rail. We all know that’s a good draw to have and to be fair to the filly of Richard’s [Happy Romance], she ran a smashing race too. She’s been solid through her career so it’s definitely a step up for Man Of Promise in what he’s achieved. Personally I think we could come back to five furlongs now with him, he’s a strong traveller.

“I’m delighted with Naval Crown, he’s done it all the right way round this time compared to what we saw in Saudi where we were far too keen and didn’t finish off. I think we could have opened a couple of doors for him as a potentially a sprinter in the making.”

He added: “I haven’t had a chance to chat to James [Doyle, jockey] but I’m not going to make too many excuses for Creative Force as I was very pleased coming into the race. With the lay-off he’s had he’s clearly a bit ring rusty and that will give him the platform to kick on in his UK season now.”

What some of the others said:

4th – Naval Crown, jockey Frankie Dettori said: “Good run, bad draw in two, the race developed down the rail.”

5th – Casa Creed, jockey Luis Saez said: “He did well. We broke well and we were able to follow the winner but when they kicked he just could not keep up and we did try, but he will come forward from this run for sure. It was a good race and we tried our best.”

6th – Taxiwala, jockey Ronan Thomas said: “Terrific run, probably his best run ever.”

7th – Khuzaam, jockey Dane O’Neill said: “Ran well, just in the wrong place.”

9th – Lauda Sion, jockey Cristian Demuro said: “Too fast for him.”

10th – Berneuil, jockey Christophe Soumillon said: “Good run, but he never quickened.”

12th – Entscheiden, jockey Ryusei Sakai said: “Ran with honour, just not his day.”

14th – Creative Force, jockey James Doyle said: “Scratching my head a bit.”

15th – Emaraaty Ana, jockey Andrea Atzeni said: “Stopped quick.”

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