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British Flag Flies For Annaf In Turf Sprint

[Saudi Cup Official Release] Annaf (IRE) brought another international triumph for his British-based trainer Mick Appleby with a stunning win in the US$2m Saudi National Bank 1351 Turf Sprint at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.

Just a few months ago, the well-respected trainer had a breakthrough on the world stage with Big Evs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.

Annaf, the 5-year-old son of Muhaarar, jumped evenly but jockey Rossa Ryan kept him to the back of the field and right on the rail.

They gradually made ground up on the inside and just found a way through to grab the trophy, winning by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:17.88.

Japanese mare La La Christine (JPN) ran well and finished in second on her swansong guided by Cristian Demuro.

Another son of Muhaarar, Byline (GB), followed in third with Gerald Mosse in the saddle.

The defending champion from Japan, Bathrat Leon was a disappointment, finishing in 10th as he missed the jump and met trouble in running early on.


Rossa Ryan, jockey, Annaf, 1st: "With Annaf I have always tended to ride for luck. It seems to work for him. He lets hard-hitters do the work for him and picks up the pieces.

"The trip today was a huge concern but he got six furlongs [1200m] on grass at Ascot on heavy ground, we went a right good gallop and I was where I wanted to be following Jumby and lucky the gaps came.

"The owner and trainer don’t put any pressure on me and I know he has pace to get me out of trouble. I didn’t have a lot of room but he stuck his head out for me. It’s brilliant because I picked this lad up as a spare one day in Lingfield, I had to drop him out and bide my time and the relationship formed from there.

"There were quite a few British raiders so we knew what would happen and I’ve ridden against French horses so the only grey area was the Japanese horses but Ryan [Moore] and Oisin [Murphy] knew them and they said they’d be players without being huge threats. The draw was a big concern and so was the trip, but we are here now, thank god."

Mick Appleby, trainer: "I think as long as he gets a good pace to aim at, he likes coming from behind and if the pace collapses he’s at his best.

"It makes it all worth it. It’s great going abroad winning these races and it puts us on the international map. Huge credit to the team in the yard who work hard all year.

"Rossa gave him a great ride. All down to Rossa, not my training. He keeps improving and keeps surprising us. God knows where we go next. He has got an invite to Japan, so possibly we’ll go there next. We always thought he was good horse who’d get better with age and he might not be finished yet. The sky is the limit."

Cristian Demuro, La La Christine, 2nd: "We ended up a little further back than I would like but she gave me a super turn of foot and was a very good second."

Masami Matsuoka, Win Greatest, 4th: "He travelled nicely but was disappointing. He showed his run and I enjoyed riding in this country."

Oisin Murphy, Matilda Picotte, 5th: "Super run. She was drawn widest, she was taken on for the lead and had to do a lot of work. Going round a bend on ground as fast as that would not be her ideal conditions, but she gave everything."

Nicolas Caullery, trainer, King Gold, 7th: "He didn't run well nor badly. He was being knocked about during the entire race. We were hoping for a more regular race. Everybody was fighting and while he had a good moment, he never got going as he is used to. He couldn't accelerate like he did in France last time."

Joel Rosario, Raaed, 8th: "It was a tough race, but he ran well."

Christophe Soumillon , Jumby, 9th: "Travelled well, never picked up. We had a good position. Just got outpaced."

Luis Saez, Dr Zempf, 11th: "He was alright."

David Allan, Art Power, 12th: "The ground was a bit too quick for him. He broke well, I used a bit up from the wide draw but the top and bottom of it is the ground’s too fast for him."

William Buick, Mysterious Night, 13th: "It was a bit of awkward draw and I was a bit wide than ideal but he just didn’t really pick up today. It’s a different ball game to what he’s been doing in Dubai so I don’t know whether it all happened a bit quick for him."

Ricardo Ferreira, Cold Front, 14th: "We had some trouble at the start. Things did not go our way."


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