Irish raider A Case of You turned the tables on odds-on favorite Man of Promise in Saturday’s $1.5 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) at Meydan. Last time out on Super Saturday, Man of Promise romped by 4 3/4 lengths over A Case of You in the Nad al Sheba Turf Sprint (G3). But trainer Ado McGuinness believed that his colt would come on for that tightener, and so it proved as A Case of You produced a form reversal at 16-1.
Gary Devlin’s colorbearer had more to recommend him than his odds implied. Rampantly progressive in the second half of his sophomore season in 2021, A Case of You just missed in the Flying Five (G1) at the Curragh before getting up in the Prix de l’Abbaye (G1) on Arc Day. That was a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), and A Case of You advanced to Del Mar, where he was a solid fifth to Golden Pal. He kicked off 2022 with a cozy score at Dundalk Feb. 11 prior to flying out to Dubai, and the Al Quoz marked his third start off the break.
Drawn on the favored stands’ side in post 16, A Case of You was always in touch with regular rider Ronan Whelan. The nearby Man of Promise was in the vanguard, but A Case of You soon served it up to the favorite. Despite lathering noticeably on his chest, A Case of You packed a stronger punch and pulled 1 1/4 lengths clear. The son of Hot Streak blitzed about six furlongs down the straightaway in 1:08.81 and sparked a $35.60 win payout.
The 38-1 filly Happy Romance, who was exiting a close third in the 1351 Turf Sprint (G3) on Saudi Cup Day, turned in another terrific effort to snatch second from Man of Promise. The beaten favorite might have been a bit flat after smoking in 1:08.14 three weeks ago.
Man of Promise’s stablemate from the Charlie Appleby yard, Naval Crown, was a commendable fourth from the disadvantageous post 2. He proved his flop in the 1351 to be purely circumstantial. American contender Casa Creed, the 1351 near-misser, kept on for fifth. Qatar-based Taxiwala checked in sixth, trailed by Khuzaam who was compromised by racing on the far side; Mutafawwig; Lauda Sion; Berneuil; Air de Valse; Entscheiden; Suesa and Appleby’s Creative Force, both well below form in their comebacks; Emaraaty Ana, in another subpar effort; and the tailed-off Get Smokin.
Appleby assessed the varying fortunes of his trio.
“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 from the Hannon yard), 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 traveler.
“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.
“I haven’t had a chance to chat to James (Doyle on Creative Force) but I’m not going to make too many excuses for Creative Force as I was very pleased coming into the race. With the layoff 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.”
A Case of You improved his tally to 14-7-2-2, reflecting victories in the 2020 Anglesey (G3) and last season’s Lacken (G3) as well as his two Group 1 tallies.
“I was worried I might be getting there a bit early,” Whelan said, “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.”
“I knew he had improved plenty from the last day,” McGuinness said. “Ronan Whelan gave him a great ride; he was super-cool.
“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.”
Bred by Limestone and Tara Studs in Ireland, A Case of You is out of the Key of Luck mare Karjera. The bay has come a long way since RNA’ing for €3,000 as a Goffs Sportsman’s yearling.