Saudi Arabia

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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Rispoli, Stevens Removed From Plane En Route to Saudi Cup; Velazquez Stymied in Miami

Several major shifts in riding assignments were underway Friday morning after Umberto Rispoli and John Velazquez were not allowed to fly to Saudi Arabia due to a mixup in flight arrangements Wednesday and problems with COVID-19 restrictions Thursday. Ron Anderson, the agent for Velazquez and Rosario, said that Mickael Barzalona would ride Max Player (Honor Code), that William Buick would be aboard Tacitus (Tapit) in the Saudi Cup, and that Joel Rosario would ride New York Central (Tapit) in defense of his title in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint. In the...

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McGuinness Team Poised for Middle Eastern Assignments

Trainer Ado McGuinness is sending Shamrock Thoroughbreds' Harry's Bar (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) to the $1.5-million Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint on the $20-million Saudi Cup undercard on Feb. 20. A 75,000gns purchase out of the Tattersalls HIT Sale last October, the 6-year-old gelding saluted in the Listed Belgrave S. on Nov. 6 and took a six-panel contest on Feb. 5, both over the Dundalk synthetic. "He's in great form," said McGuinness. "He's come back 100% from his last race, he's cantering away and he's heading out to...

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First Foal a Filly for Force the Pass

The first foal by Grade I-winning millionaire Force the Pass (Speightstown--Social Queen, by Dynaformer) arrived Feb. 4 at Murmur Farm in Maryland. The filly is out of Magical Point, a daughter of Point Given out of a stakes winning and producing full-sister to Grade I winner and sire Include (Broad Brush). Magical Point, the dam of three winners, and her filly are both owned by Wasabi Ventures Stables, who also stood Force the Pass at Anchor & Hope Farm in Maryland during the 2020 breeding season. Racing as a homebred...

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Hollie Doyle to Take Part in STC International Jockeys' Challenge

Jockey Hollie Doyle, who celebrated her first Group 1 winner in 2020, will take part in the STC International Jockeys' Challenge in Saudia Arabia later this month. The Feb. 19 contest features 14 jockeys at King Abdulaziz Racetrack, with Doyle also booked on MGSW Extra Elusive (GB) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) for trainer Roger Charlton in the $20-million Saudi Cup the next day. "I'm really excited to be riding in Saudi," said Doyle, who also rode her first winner at Royal Ascot last term and competed in the Hong Kong International Jockeys'...

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Buick and Foley Join STC International Jockeys' Challenge

William Buick and Shane Foley are two of the jockeys that will take part in the second STC International Jockeys' Challenge at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 19. The second $20-million Saudi Cup, part of the $30.5 million Saudi Cup card, is set for Feb. 20. "My first time riding in Saudi was around 12 years ago, I've been in and out since then," said Buick, who rode in the original turf trials at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in January of 2020. "Last year I came over for the turf...

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Saudi Arabian Dirt Likely for Oxted

Group 1 winner Oxted (GB) (Mayson {GB}) is likely for the six-furlong Riyadh Dirt Sprint instead of the 1351 Turf Sprint at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 20. A winner of the G3 Abernant S. last June, the bay gelding added the G1 July Cup at Newmarket one month later. After undergoing wind surgery, Oxted resumed with a fifth in the Oct. 17 QIPCO British Champions Sprint S. "At the moment we are favouring the dirt really because it's six furlongs," said trainer Roger Teal, whose son Harry will...

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