x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Al Quoz takes the step up to Group 1 race at Dubai World Cup

JJ The Jet Plane's win in March was key to Dubai World Cup race getting highest status as 12 races get promotions.

JJ The Jet Plane's win in the Al Quoz Sprint race at the Dubai World Cup in March this year was of a standard at the highest level.
JJ The Jet Plane's win in the Al Quoz Sprint race at the Dubai World Cup in March this year was of a standard at the highest level.

The Al Quoz Sprint will become the fifth Group 1 race on the Dubai World Cup card on March 31 after the Emirates Racing Authority announced yesterday 12 upgrades throughout the region.

Last season, the race was upgraded from Group 3 to Group 2, but after JJ The Jet Plane put in another performance of Group 1 standard to take his second Al Quoz success, the race has been promoted to the highest level.

The Jebel Hatta and round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge on the inaugural Super Saturday card, to be stage on March 10, will also be run as Group 1 contests after victories by Wigmore Hall and Twice Over respectively.

Other races at Meydan Racecourse to receive upgrades are the Al Maktoum Challenge round two, which is a now a Group 2, while the Firebreak Stakes and Nad Al Sheba Trophy will be run as Group 3 contests.

Elsewhere, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club receives one Group 3 and two Listed events and Jebel Ali will feature three Listed races. Robert Cowell, who trains Prohibit, who ran fifth behind JJ The Jet Plane, welcomed the upgrade.

"That is really great news," he said. "Providing all goes according to plan, we are coming to Dubai again after Prohibit runs in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington [in Melbourne on February 18]."

Before Prohibit's likely showdown with Black Caviar in Australia, the six year old will have to negotiate Sunday's Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp in France.

Prohibit built on his victory in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at England's Royal Ascot in June by winning a Group 3 at the Parisian track this month.

The son of Oasis Dream gave his 11 rivals 7lbs that day, and goes into the five-furlong contest as one of the most likely winners.

"By a million miles I didn't think he would win that race," Cowell said. "He's not a big horse - 15.3 hands - but he's almost as wide as he is tall. He's really tough and he looks every inch a sprinter."

Jim Crowley, the jockey, took over the ride from Frankie Dettori in May and since then Prohibit has done nothing but improve.

"For much of his career he was ridden from too far back, but Jim has ridden him more prominently and that is the key to him.

"If the ground is going to be as fast as they are predicting there on Sunday they will do five furlongs in 55 seconds. You can't make up much ground going that speed."

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