Jimmy Jerkens Saddles First Saudi Winner

Honky Tonk Man at Tattersalls last October | Tattersalls

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Trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who relocated to Saudi Arabia earlier this year to take up a position as private trainer to Prince Faisal bin Khalid Al Saud, was represented by his first winner when  Honky Tonk Man (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) won a 1400-meter allowance Saturday afternoon at King Khalid Racecourse in Ta'if, about 500 miles southwest of Riyadh.

Ridden by former U.S.-based jockey Wigberto Ramos from gate 16, Honky Tonk Man–who was second to fellow American-bred Chiefdom (The Factor) when becoming Jerkens's first runner in a 0-90 handicap July 15–raced with the leading group and edged forward to contend for the lead with about a half-mile to race. Matching strides into the stretch in a rematch with Chiefdom Saturday, Honky Tonk Man began to get the upper hand inside the final furlong and went on to score by 1 1/2 lengths (see below, SC 16).

 

 

“It is, I must admit, it's a little bit of breathing room for a little while,” a relieved Jerkens told the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia's Shamela Hanley. “He ran a winning race last time. The others we've run since then haven't fared as well, they just didn't get enough out of their works in the morning to be fit enough. But he's a light, little horse, kind of a natural athlete and he was getting over the track better than the majority of my horses, so I was fairly confident in him.”

A winner of two of nine starts in England for trainers Harry and Roger Charlton, Honky Tonk Man was purchased by Najd Stud for 150,000gns ($177,654) at last year's Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale, an increasingly important source of bloodstock for jurisdictions in the Middle East. He was unplaced in a pair of starts at King Abdulaziz Racecourse last January and February before being transferred to Jerkens.

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