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Jungle Cat bows out with a G1 placing at Flemington

Mike Hedge

The retiring Jungle Cat kept the Godolphin royal blue in the frame on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, turning in another wholehearted effort to take third place in the G1 VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington.

In a week in which His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby realised a dream by winning Australia’s greatest race, the G1 Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter, local head trainer James Cummings pulled off a Stakes-race three-timer on opening day and produced another future star on Cup Day.

For Appleby, the performance of Cross Counter overshadowed all others, but he had a special word for Jungle Cat.

“He ran his usual honest race, like always he tried every inch of the way,” Appleby said.

It was Jungle Cat who got Appleby’s Melbourne Spring off to a G1 start when he won the Rupert Clarke Stakes on 22 September.

He then missed a beat at his next start before returning to form on Saturday in what was the final start of a career that yielded nine wins, two of them at G1 level.

“I thought for a couple of strides he was going to win it and pull off a grand finale,” Appleby said.

The race went to Santa Ana Lane with In Her Time second ahead of Jungle Cat and Pierata who dead-heated for third.

For Cummings, the biggest success of the Cup Carnival was Best Of Days who took the G1 Kennedy Mile on opening day.

But the horse for the future may well be Osborne Bulls whose win in the G2 TAB Stakes on opening day stamped him as a horse of immense ability.