Luxembourg Opts For Neom Turf Cup, As Isolate Draws Into Saudi Cup

Luxembourg in Hong Kong | Racingfotos.com

Multiple Group 1 winner Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), who was slated to make his dirt debut in the $20-million G1 Saudi Cup later this month, will not run in the 1800-metre main track affair, according to the latest list of probables released by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia. With Luxembourg's absence, multiple group winner Isolate (Mark Valeski) draws into the main body of the field for trainer Doug Watson and owner RRR Racing.

The Coolmore partners' runner, a winner of the 2023 G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, the 2022 G1 Irish Champion S. and 2021 G1 Futurity Trophy for trainer Aidan O'Brien, has been re-routed to the $2-million G2 Neom Turf Cup over an extended mile and a quarter earlier on the card. He ran second in both the 2023 Irish Champion S. in September and missed by only a nose to Hong Kong standout Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) in the G1 Hong Kong Cup.

Kieran Cotter is also planning to send his stable star Matilda Picotte (Ire) to Riyadh, where her intended target is the 1351 Saudi Turf Sprint.

Third in last year's 1,000 Guineas, the daughter of Sioux Nation ended 2023 with back-to-back wins in the G3 Sceptre S. at Doncaster and the G2 Challenge S. at Newmarket.

“She's doing fantastic, she had a break for six or seven weeks out at grass and then prior to Christmas we got an invitation to run in the Sprint,” Cotter said.

“She's back in and being prepared for that, we're delighted with her and she leaves for Saudi on Saturday morning to run the following Saturday.

“She flies from Shannon to Stansted and then it's direct to Riyadh. Door to door it's a 20-hour journey, which is no more than from here to Newmarket and she's a very good traveller.”

He added of the Turf Sprint, which is worth $2 million, “It's serious money and we had to take the opportunity. Our main target this year is to try to win a Group 1 with her and it's a Group 2, but if she's a Group 1 horse she'll have to go close.

“A few of the owners are going, there'll be enough there to make a bit of noise anyway! She's never run a bad race so it's all to play for.”

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