Saudi Arabia

Dancing Prince Gives Japan, Lemaire a Saudi Four-Bagger

by Alan Carasso Sent off the betting favourite in international markets on the strength of his form at home, Dancing Prince (Jpn) (Pas de Trois {Jpn}) made all the running beneath a white-hot Christophe Lemaire to give both the country and rider a fourth victory on the Saudi Cup undercard in the G3 Riyadh Sprint. Soon in front from a favourable draw, the last-out winner of the G3 Capella S. at Nakayama in December, showed the way in advance of longshots Beehive (GB) (Fountain of Youth {Ire}) and Rudy Trigger...

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Pinehurst Takes Them Gate To Wire In Saudi Derby

The Saudi Derby had been won by horses based in Japan in each of its first two runnings and the island nation swept the first three races on Saturday's Saudi Cup undercard. Given a positive ride by Flavien Prat over a racing surface that seemed kind to front-runners, Pinehurst (Twirling Candy) had his full battling qualities on display and withstood a late charge from Sekifu (Jpn) (Henny Hughes) to register a half-length success in the $1.5-million test, upgraded to Group 3 level for the first time in 2022. Off to...

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It's Australia Day in Saudi Arabia

One of the greatest riders in the history of the Australian turf, Glen Boss, officially brought the curtain down on his illustrious career with a final victory aboard Raeed (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) in the second of four legs of Friday's stc International Jockey Challenge at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh. But the veteran reinsman was outdone by his South Australia-based compatriot Caitlin Jones, with the pair finishing first and third. For her efforts, Jones earned first-place prizemoney of US$100,000. Jones, who calls Morphettville in Adelaide home, has been riding...

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Saudi Cup Berth On the Line in King's Cup

A full and eclectic field of 18 older gallopers is set to face the starter for Thursday's SAR1.5-million (£295,933/€354,288/US$400,000) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup (King's Cup) going the metric 10 furlongs at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, offering the winner a guaranteed spot in the field for the US$20-million G1 Saudi Cup Feb. 26. The King's Cup marks the Saudi debut for American-bred Saiydabad (Blame), a close fourth behind St Mark's Basilica (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) in last year's G1 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club and winner of the...

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Ortiz Scoops Big Prize In Saudi

Leading jockey Jose Ortiz rode four races Friday on the first of a two-day stint at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, and was able to boot home the winner of one of the program's feature races, guiding the U.S.-bred 6-year-old mare Avalina (Tale of Ekati) to a 3 3/4-length success in the $186,667 Prince Sultan Ben A/Aziz Cup over the metric 10 furlongs. Bred in Kentucky by Charles Fipke, Avalina won three of her first four career starts for owner John O'Hara and trainer Danny Gargan,...

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Pyledriver On Track For Hong Kong Bid

Group 1 winner Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}) will return in the Betway Churchill S. at Lingfield next weekend before an intended start in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Vase in December. The 4-year-old, who claimed the G2 King Edward VII S. and G2 Great Voltigeur S. at three, had an abbreviated two-start campaign this season. Second by 2 1/4 length in the G2 Jockey Club S. at Newmarket making his 4-year-old bow, Pyledriver clawed his way to a neck victory in Epsom's G1 Coronation Cup over Al Aasy (Ire)...

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Saudi Cup Promoted to Group 1 Status

Saudi Arabia's $20-million Saudi Cup has been awarded Group 1 status beginning in 2022 it was announced during Monday's virtual meeting of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). The move follows the promotion of both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain from Part III to Part II of the ICS Book by the International Grading and Race Planning Advisory Committee (IRPAC). In addition, the Neom Turf Cup, Saudi Derby, STC 1,351 Turf Sprint, Riyadh Dirt Sprint and Red Sea Turf, as well as Bahrain's Bahrain International Trophy...

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Abernant Next For Oxted

Group 1 winner Oxted (GB) (Mayson {GB}) is aiming to defend his title in the Apr. 15 G3 Abernant S. at Newmarket, trainer Roger Teal revealed on Monday. Oxted, who won the G1 July Cup S., was unplaced in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint on dirt in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 20. An alternative option for the gelding is the G2 Duke of York S. if the ground is too quick at Newmarket. Teal said, "At the moment the plan is to go to Newmarket as long as the ground is...

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Copano Kicking Rallies To Upset Riyadh Dirt Sprint

by Alan Carasso One of three Japanese raiders, Copano Kicking (Spring At Last) came with a stinging final-furlong rally in Saturday's Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint and was up on the wire to defeat Matera Sky (Speightstown), who dropped a similarly gut-wrenching decision to New York Central (Tapit) in the inaugural running of the event in 2020. The locally based Faz Zae (KSA) (Mizzen Mast) finished best of the rest. The fleet-footed Matera Sky jumped straight into the bridle from gate one and led along the inside, as recent...

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Pink Kamehameha Gives Japan Back-To-Back Wins In Saudi Derby

by Alan Carasso Making his first afternoon appearance on the dirt at career start number seven, Pink Kamehameha (Jpn) (Leontes {Jpn}) provided his home country and trainer Hideyuki Mori with a second victory in as many runnings in the Al Rajhi Bank Saudi Derby at King Abdulaziz Racecourse Saturday. Cowan (Kantharos) made up a stack of ground after blowing the break to just miss and won a photo for second from New Treasure (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}). Full Flat (Speightstown) won for Japan last year. When entries were taken Saturday,...

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Knicks Go, Charlatan Battle in the Desert

Knicks Go (Paynter) and Charlatan (Speightstown), a pair of major forces headlining the American racing scene in 2020, take on 12 others in Saturday's $20-million Saudi World Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Both Grade I winners in their latest starts, the pair represent two of America's leading trainers, Brad Cox, who took home his first Eclipse Award last season, and Bob Baffert, a 2020 finalist who had previously annexed four training titles. Knicks Go, winner of the 2018 GI Breeders' Futurity S. while under the care...

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This Side Up: 'Hometown' Hope Uniting Desert and Bluegrass

"Build it, and they will come." Such is the familiar philosophy sustaining the dramatic--sometimes melodramatic--changes in the desert landscape, both physical and metaphorical, over the past generation. Certainly those who first visited Dubai during the early years of its ruling family's commitment to our sport were annually bewildered by the exponential transformation of a cluster of creekside souks and wharves into a teeming, space-age skyline of gleaming towers. Even so, it was still staggering last year to see the Saudis stage a card featuring the richest race in history just...

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