When you have a horse who has been placed in as many stakes and pattern events as Jungle Cat has, it comes as something of a surprise that a first win at that level comes so late in his career.
Godolphin's homebred six-year-old began his career in the Mark Johnston stable, winning a six-furlong Goodwood maiden and being placed in each of the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, Group 2 July Stakes, Group 2 Richmond Stakes and Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes – beaten just a nose by Muhaarar in the latter.
At three, and now with Charlie Appleby, he chased home Adaay in the Listed Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury from just three starts and he had been off the track for seven months when easily taking a six-furlong handicap at Meydan on his first start at four.
He was then beaten a nose in a Group 3 contest at the same venue, was fourth in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, runner-up to Profitable in the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and then fourth behind that same horse in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Ascot.
Last year he won a conditions race over seven furlongs at Haydock and was multiple blacktype-placed, and when he took the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort over that same trip at Meydan at the start of the month, it was his first outing since August.
Jungle Cat is a son of Dalham Hall Stud's notably successful stallion Iffraaj (by Zafonic) and, like dual Group 1 star Rizeena, he is out of a mare from the Storm Cat (by Storm Bird) line.
His siblings include the dual Grade 3-placed six-figure earner Texas Wildcatter (by Monarchos) and his dam is Mike's Wildcat (by Forest Wildcat), a lightly raced and speedy juvenile stakes winner whose blacktype-placed dam, Mistyray (by In Reality), won seven times from two to four years of age.
There are some blacktype horses in the next generation of the pedigree, including Mistyray's listed-winning half-sister Speier's Hope (by Minnesota Mac) and a pair of South American graded scorers, but it would seem fair to say that Jungle Cat may be the best horse the family has produced in some time.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for him and, as an entire, that could include a berth at stud. He is effective from five to seven furlongs, has not yet been asked to go beyond that range, and looks a likely candidate to do well again in stakes and pattern events at those trips in Europe this coming season.