Neom Turf Cup

Foals First, Celebrations Later at Spirit Dancer's Birthplace

A properly international Saudi Cup meeting saw the major races claimed by stables from  Japan, America, Britain and Ireland. A clash with two rugby internationals will have had plenty of viewers indulging in some channel-hopping, but for some of racing's most crucial workers - those on stud farms - the work can't just be put aside for an afternoon on the sofa. Such was the case for Greg and Lottie Parsons of Upperwood Farm Stud in Hertfordshire, who had a "36-hour day" on Saturday, having been up all night foaling....

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Sir Alex Ferguson Eyes Another Big Prize for Spirit Dancer

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has long been a racehorse owner but he has also become immersed in the breeding world since his retirement from football. On Saturday, his homebred Spirit Dancer (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who Ferguson races in partnership with Ged Mason and Peter Done, lines up in the $2-million G2 Howden Neom Turf Cup on the Saudi Cup undercard. The seven-year-old, trained by Richard Fahey, has been wintering in the Middle East, where he won the G2 Bahrain International Trophy in November before finishing fourth in...

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Saudi Cup Meeting Attracts Entries From 15 Countries

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) has released the names of the 1162 entries--including 41 Grade I/Group 1 winners--from no fewer than 15 racing jurisdictions around the world for the US$33.5 million Saudi Cup meeting to be held at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Prize money is up by $2.25 million as compared to the 2023 renewal, reflecting the upgrades of the Neom Turf Cup (2100mT) and 1351 Turf Sprint to international Group 2 status. One of the two races for Purebred Arabians--the Al Mneefah...

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Strength In Numbers For Japan In Saudi Cup

by Brian Sheerin in Riyadh, Heather Anderson & Alan Carasso Wherever and whenever horses from Japan show up on the world stage, recent history dictates that they are to be taken very seriously. As recently as 12 months ago at the Saudi Cup meeting, horses representing the island nation accounted for four of the evening's six big races, and a month later in yet another desert destination, they somehow managed to one-up themselves with a spectacular five-timer on Dubai World Cup night. The nation has yet--repeat, yet--to break through in...

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First Strike To Japan On Saudi Cup Card

Fresh off major showings at the Breeders' Cup and Hong Kong International races, Japan brought a formidable squad to Riyadh for the Saudi Cup card on Saturday, and the nation lodged first blow with Authority (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}) leading every step of the way to take the G3 Neom Turf Cup. The winner of a pair of Group 2s going a mile and a half and 2500 metres in 2020 as a 3-year-old, Authority was upped to two miles during the first part of his campaign last year. He was...

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Mishriff and Mandaloun Duel In The Desert

By Emma Berry and Kelsey Riley A line-up worthy of its new Group 1 status, the Saudi Cup has attracted runners from seven nations, with Classic winners from two continents likely to be the leading players in the field of 14. The major fly in the ointment for defending champion Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) appears to be his draw in stall 14, but he wasn't much closer to the rail last year when winning from gate 12. He has really impressed in mornings this week, appearing relaxed and looking...

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Pyledriver 'Bouncing And Kicking' In Saudi

Last year's G1 Coronation Cup winner Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}) is reported to be in fine fettle by his co-trainer William Muir ahead of Saturday's G3 Neom Turf Cup, and though a positive Covid test has ruled Muir out of traveling to Saudi Arabia, he has been keeping close tabs on his stable star via video feed and through communication with his team on the ground, which includes his son-in-law and jockey Martin Dwyer. The 5-year-old Pyledriver won the Listed Churchill S. at Lingfield on Nov. 13 in his...

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Mishriff on Track For Saudi Cup Title Defence

Prince Faisal's 2021 $20-million Saudi Cup hero Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) is in excellent form ahead of his defence of his crown in the 2022 edition, the first time the race has been accorded Group 1 status. The John and Thady Gosden runner took the G1 Sheema Classic at Meydan last March, and was third in Sandown's G1 Eclipse S. July. Second to Adayar (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. on July 24, he bounced back to win the G1 Juddmonte International...

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Prizemoney Boosts For Saudi Cup Card

In addition to the previously announced allocation of Group 1 status to the $20-million Saudi Cup and Group 3 status to five undercard Thoroughbred races, the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia revealed in a press conference on Thursday some key purse increases for undercard races. The 2022 Saudi Cup meeting, which will take place on Feb. 25 and 26, will be worth $35.1-million, making it the world's richest race meeting. Prizemoney for the G3 Neom Turf Cup and the G3 1351 Turf Sprint have each been boosted by $500,000, and...

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True Self Upsets Channel Maker In Saudi

A winner over hurdles in Ireland, a multiple listed winner on the flat in the UK, a dual Group 3 winner in Australia and now a winner in Saudi Arabia: True Self (Ire) (Oscar {Ire}) has nearly done it all, and at age eight she appeared at the peak of her powers on Saturday when overhauling America's reigning champion turf horse Channel Maker (English Channel) in a beautifully executed ride by Hollie Doyle to win the $1-million Neom Turf Cup in Riyadh. Dropping back to race midpack as the field...

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Strength In Depth On Saudi Cup Undercard

The first three home in last year's Red Sea Turf Handicap have all returned to Riyadh for this $2.5 million staying contest over 3,000 metres. The trio is led by the George Strawbridge homebred Call The Wind (GB) (Frankel {GB}), whose victory over Mekong (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Prince Of Arran (GB) (Shirocco {Ger}) was followed through the French summer with wins in the G3 Prix de Barbeville and G2 Prix Kergorlay.  Freddy Head, who arrived in Saudi in time to see the 7-year-old have an easy canter on Thursday...

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Nearly 1000 Entries for Inaugural Saudi Cup Program

The inaugural US$29.2-million Saudi Cup program, to be held at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in the capital of Riyadh Saturday, Feb. 29, has attracted 964 entries from connections of horses from all corners of the globe. The meeting's centerpiece is the $20-million Saudi Cup at 1800 meters on dirt and attracted over 140 nominations from 60 different trainers from four continents, representing 16 countries. The world's richest horse race has entries from Argentina, Bahrain, Japan, Korea, Poland and Turkey, but American runners figure to take all the beating. Midnight Bisou (Midnight...

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