As he stood at the rail nervously waiting for race five to start his heart sunk as he heard the news that his number one contender for the race, Blue Point, had been scratched at the gate with blood in his nostrils.
But before he barely had time to process the shocking news, his emotions turned to joy as he watched James Doyle produce a telling late burst on Jungle Cat, another of his three runners in the 1200m sprint on turf, to pounce inside the final 200m and take the winners purse.
The 6-year-old Irish horse won by half a length to the good from the strong finishing Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champion Stormy Liberal with a length and half back to another American contender, the pacesetting Conquest Tsunami.
The winning time a sharp 1:09.37.
“I said before the race that if Blue Point was to falter tonight then Jungle Cat would be there to pick up the pieces,” Appleby said post-race.
“I don’t know what happened with Blue Point but there just seemed to be a trickle of blood from his nose.
“Once he was withdrawn I knew I had to compose myself as Jungle Cat was in the form of his life.
“The team has done a fantastic job and I am delighted to win. I fancied him last year but the rain came and he finished fourth. He is now a Group 1 winner and I am very proud of him.
“James (Doyle, jockey) gets on with him very well and he rode a perfect race. It is a first Group 1 for Jungle Cat and it is richly deserved.
“It is also a terrific feeling to win a race on the biggest stage for Godolphin,” he added.
Doyle, who was on his first winner of the day said: “Obviously, he stays 1400m so I jumped quite well and then found myself just in the middle of them.
“He is a horse who likes to get a bit of room, so there was that option after going a furlong or so to move out to my right and give him all the room in the world and that panned out all right.
“You can set the clock by him. He is fantastic.”
For Blue Point jockey William Buick, it added to a disappointing start to the day as to that point all he had to his name was a third on Rare Rhythm in the Dubai Gold Cup.
Buick still sounded upbeat saying: “It’s disappointing for me but it’s great for the team that we still got the winner.”
However Buick, and Godolphin’s fortunes were set to change after Jungle Cat’s inspiring triumph.
Two races later the royal blue silk was back in the winners’ circle as Benbatl, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, and ridden by Oisin Murphy finished strongly to win the Dubai Turf.
And then in the penultimate race of the night Buick finally got his winner, partnering Hawkbill to a stunning victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic, giving Appleby his second and Godolphin their third win of the night.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rahid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was delighted watching on from his position near the winning post – thrilled that all the hard work of Godolphin stable was paying off in such impressive performances.
Greater joy was to follow soon after as another Godolphin charge Thunder Snow won the main event.
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