Saudi Cup to feature five Americans: Mandaloun, Midnight Bourbon, Art Collector, Happy Saver and Country Grammer – Reuters
The likely riders for the $35.1million Saudi Cup meeting on February 25-26 have been announced, with horses from 16 racing nations competing over the two days.
Riyadh’s King Abdulaziz Racecourse will host 16 races on its dirt and grass tracks, and the highlight of the meeting, the $20m Saudi Cup Group 1, is set to be contested by the winners of 16 group races. 1 of six countries.
The field is led by three-time Group 1 winner and last year’s Arabian Cup champion Mishriff (IRE). A historic second victory in the race would see the John & Thady Gosden-trained racer surpass Winx and become the highest-earning racehorse of all time.
Winner of the Group 1 Champion Stakes last season, Sealiway (FR) will make his debut under trainer Francis-Henri Graffard, after leaving the stable of Cédric Rossi.
Japan’s chances of winning a first Saudi Cup rests with TO Keynes (JPN), trained by Daisuke Takayanagi, impressive winner of his last start in the Grade 1 Champions Cup in Chukyo in December, and winner of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff of grade 1, Marche Lorraine (JPN). Coach Yoshito Yahagi has indicated his six-year-old daughter will be making her final start in Saudi Arabia as she tries to end her career with another victory at the highest level.
Once again there is a strong American contingent, led by Brad Cox’s Mandaloun (USA), who got the better of Steven Assmussen’s Midnight Bourbon (USA) in the Grade 3 Louisiana Stakes last month. Grade 1 winners Art Collector (US), Happy Saver (US) and Country Grammer (US) are also expected to line up.
Uruguay-trained Antonio Cintra’s Grade 1 Gran Premio Latinamericano winner Aero Trem (BRZ) will be the first South American rider in the Saudi Cup.
The field is completed by locally-trained Emblem Road (USA) and Making Miracles (GB), a former Chester Cup winner who qualified by winning the National Cup in Group 1 Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques Cup the last time.
Plenty of other top horses are set to take their place in Riyadh, across a map that includes six more group races.
In the $1.5m Group 3 Neom Turf Cup presented by Jahez, Group 1 runners-up Hong Kong Vase Pyledriver (GB) will look to do better for trainers William Muir and Chris Grassick. Strong French participation includes Ebaiyra (USA), Eudaimonia (FR) and Magny Cours (USA), while Bahrain-based coach Fawzi Nass is expected to be represented by Port Lions (IRE), winners of the inaugural race in this race in 2020 .
Irish hopes of a winner at the meeting could rest with Sonnyboyliston (IRE) and Princess Zoe (GER) trained by Tony Mullins in the $2.5m Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap Group 3, where they will be joined by Nerium (IRE), a Group 2 winner in Germany and Argentine Group 1 winner of Maria Cristina Munoz, Mirinaque (ARG).
In the $1.5m Group 3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint presented by Saudia, Japanese star Copano Kicking (USA) returns to defend his crown from last year and will face stiff opposition from the winner of the Nakayama G3 Capella Stakes , Dancing Prince (JPN), and Richard Baltas. -formed Ginobili (USA).
The Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint presented by stc also features a strong field, including last year’s fourth-place finisher Glorious Journey (GB), Japan-trained Songline (JPN) as well as Royal Ascot winner Wokingham Stakes Rohaan (GB).
Homegrown Alnaader (KSA) has made waves on the Saudi track this season and is unbeaten in four career starts, including winning the Group 1 King Abdullah Cup last time out. He is expected to line up in the $1.5m Group 3 Saudi Derby presented by Al Rajhi Bank.
The Saudi Cup card also includes the $2 million Obaiya Arabian Classic presented by Lexus, which has been upgraded to Group 2 status after being held as a Listed contest last season.
There was a strong entry with horses from France, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman joining locally trained riders. Saudi hopes seem to rest on Tilal Al Khalediah (KSA), while Deryan (FR) trained by Didier Guillemin and Fawzi Nass RB runner Rich Lyke Me (USA) are sure to pose a threat.
On Friday February 25, 14 of the world’s top riders – seven women and seven men – will take part in the stc International Jockeys Challenge, with jockeys including last year’s winner Shane Foley as well as Glen Boss, Hayley Turner and Jessica Pyfer already announced.
The $500,000 Saudi International Handicap presented by Al Rajhi Bank once again attracted a strong field of riders, with horses from Norway, Bahrain, Uruguay, Qatar, Greece and Spain joining riders locally trained Saudis.
Tom Ryan, Director of Strategy and International Racing at The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said:
“We are delighted with the list of likely riders for this year’s Saudi Cup meeting. It really underlines the international appeal of the event and shows that the world’s top owners, trainers and jockeys are looking increasingly to Saudi Arabia.
“If Mishriff can retain his crown in the Saudi Cup, it would be a fantastic story for horse racing, but he will have to be at his best with brilliant horses entered from Japan, Europe, the United States and beyond. .
“After such a difficult 2021, we are delighted to be able to welcome racing fans from around the world back to King Abdulaziz Racecourse. Everyone has worked hard to ensure the success of the event this year. and for the Saudi Cup to continue to showcase the best of world horse racing.
Download the list of probable riders here: https://issuu.com/equestrian-