Annaf Scrapes Paint for 1351 Turf Sprint Win in Riyadh

Annaf | Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

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UK trainer Mick Appleby, who burst onto the international scene with a win in the $1-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint with Big Evs (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) last year, doubled up on the world stage with a victory in the $2-million G2 Saudi National Bank 1351 Turf Sprint in Saudi Arabia by Fosnic Racing's ANNAF (IRE) (h, 5, Muhaarar {GB}–Shimah, by Storm Cat). Japan's La La Christine (Jpn) (Mikki Isle {Jpn}) finished second while Byline (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}) was third. Last year's winner, Bathrat Leon (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}), was slow away from the gates and never got involved after a troubled trip.

“It's great going abroad winning these races and it puts us on the international map,” said Appleby. “Huge credit to the team in the yard who work hard all year.”

With Rossa Ryan aboard from a wide post, Annaf found cover early and didn't waste an inch as he edged over to the rail. Staying under the radar, he angled steadily up throughout the running and landed in an advantageous spot, finally slipping through the slimmest of seams to thread the needle on the inside and burst clear late. With a move not for the faint of heart, Annaf finished three-quarters of a length the best with a final time of time of 1:17.88 for the 1351 metres, or approximately 6 3/4 furlongs. The Japanese mare La La Christine closed from the clouds with a spectacular turn of foot, but ran out of ground and secured second as Bahrain's Byline found his best stride late to follow in her wake.

“With Annaf I have always tended to ride for luck. It seems to work for him,” said Ryan. “He lets hard-hitters do the work for him and picks up the pieces.

“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.”

Ryan rode Annaf for the first time in January, 2023 in a Lingfield handicap and the two embarked on a three-race win skein. They went their separate way for a few months and reunited for a third in the G1 King's Stand S. last June at Royal Ascot. A fourth in a Group 3 at Sandown ensued and the two separated once again before finally reuniting in September. They notched two nose wins, including in the Oct. 7 G3 John Guest Racing Bengough S. at Ascot, and were last seen finishing second on the all-weather at Lingfield Feb. 4.

“Rossa gave him a great ride,” said Appleby. “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.”

Pedigree Notes

Haras Du Petit Tellier's Muhaarar (GB), new to the operation for 2024 after standing at Haras des Faune, is the sire of Annaf and 23 other black-type winners. The son of Oasis Dream (GB), himself a multiple Group 1 winner and crack English sprinter, famously sired the exacta in the 2021 G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares S. Also among his dozen group winners is last year's G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner Marhaba Ya Sanafi (Ire). In addition, his Byline (GB) was third in the 1351 Turf Sprint, giving Muhaarar a one-three finish in Saturday's race.

Damsire Storm Cat, leading broodmare sire in the U.S. three times, has 308 stakes winners out of his daughters, including a long list of champions. Interestingly, two of Muhaarar's 12 group winners are out of Storm Cat-line mares, including Paris Peacock (Ire), a group winner in Ireland in 2022 and graded stakes-placed in the U.S. last year.

Annaf is a fourth-generation Shadwell-bred. His dam, one of the top fillies in Ireland in her day, also produced English stakes winner Mushir (GB), who is by Muhaarar's sire, Oasis Dream. Her last reported foal is the sophomore colt Mitwaa (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}), a winner in Qatar. Shadwell also bred and raced Muhaarar. Fosnic Racing picked up Annaf as an unraced 2-year-old for 16,000gns at the 2021 Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training Sale.

Saturday, King Abdulaziz (Riyadh), Saudi Arabia
SAUDI NATIONAL BANK 1351 TURF SPRINT-G2, $2,000,000, King Abdulaziz, 2-24, NH4yo/up, SH3yo/up, 1351mT, 1:17.88, gd.
1–ANNAF (IRE), 125, h, 5, by Muhaarar (GB)
                1st Dam: Shimah (Hwt. 2yo Filly-Ire, SW & G1SP-Ire,
                                $161,479), by Storm Cat
                2nd Dam: Sayedat Alhadh, by Mr. Prospector
                3rd Dam: Muhbubh, by Blushing Groom (Fr)
(16,000gns HRA '21 TATOCT). O-Fosnic Racing; B-Shadwell
Estate Company, Ltd. (Ire); T-Michael Appleby; J-Rossa Ryan;
$1,200,000. Lifetime Record: GSW & G1SP-Eng, 26-8-3-3,
$1,590,994. *1/2 to Mushir (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), SW-Eng
& SP-UAE, $171,335. Werk Nick Rating: B. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the
free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–La La Christine (Jpn), 121, m, 6, Mikki Isle (Jpn)–Super
Madame (Jpn), by Tanino Gimlet (Jpn). (¥18,900,000 Ylg '19
JBBAAUG). O-Fujii Kosan Co., Ltd.; B-Doi Bokujo; T-Takashi Saito; J-Cristian Demuro;
$400,000.
3–Byline (GB), 125, g, 7, Muhaarar (GB)–Lauren Louise (GB), by
Tagula (Ire). 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (140,000gns Ylg '18
TATOCT; 110,000gns HRA '20 TATOCT). O-Al Adiyat Racing; B-Toby Barker; T-Allan Smith; J-Gerald Mosse; $200,000.
Margins: 3/4, 3/4, HF.
Also Ran: Win Greatest (Jpn), Matilda Picotte (Ire), Aguri (Jpn), King Gold (Fr), Raaed (Ire), Jumby (Ire), Bathrat Leon (Jpn), Dr Zempf (GB), Art Power (Ire), Mysterious Night (Ire), Cold Front (GB). Click for the JCSA chart and video.

 

 

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