Saudi Cup

Foley Takes Jockeys Challenge

Irish jockey Shane Foley took top honours in the stc International Jockeys Challenge in Riyadh in Friday after winning two of the four races comprising the contest, which set the stage for Saturday's card that includes the $20-million Saudi Cup. Foley beat just three home in the opening leg of the challenge, which was won by Mike Smith, who was deputizing for jockey John Velazquez whose trip to Saudi was dashed on account of travel-related issues. Foley turned things around in the next race, however, navigating Emblem Star (Take Charge...

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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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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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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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FOX Sports To Televise Saudi Cup

FS1 will carry Saturday's $20-million Saudi Cup, featuring a clash between GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. winner Knicks Go (Paynter) and 'TDN Rising Star' and GI Runhappy Malibu S. hero Charlatan (Speightstown), during a live one-hour broadcast from 12-1 p.m. ET. The undercard races, with the exception of the Neom Turf Cup, will be shown live on FS2 from 8:30 a.m. ET to noon ET. A live internet feed will be available here. The 'Golden Hour' telecast will be hosted on site by...

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NTRA CEO Alex Waldrop Joins TDN Writers' Room

There's plenty to talk about in racing these days, and NTRA CEO Alex Waldrop joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday morning to dig into a good deal of the sport's most pressing topics. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Waldrop talked about how to capitalize and sustain the positive handle trends of the past year, how to pay for the groundbreaking Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, what movement he expects on H-2B visas with a new administration and more. "Looking back...

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Leon Penate Hoping To Reign For Spain

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—At the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting 12 months ago, the International Jockeys' Challenge broke new ground in allowing female jockeys to compete against their male counterparts. Hollie Doyle will notch another milestone on Saturday when she becomes the first female to ride in the Saudi Cup aboard Extra Elusive (GB), fulfilling her obligation as the retained rider for Arab owner Imad Al Sagar. That spirit of inclusivity has been extended further this year by the introduction of the Al Rajhi Bank Saudi International Handicap. Run over 2,100 metres...

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U.S. Quintet Tunes Up For Saudi Cup

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—A number of trainers with horses engaged in Saturday's Saudi Cup have been unable to travel but their horses and exercise riders have shipped in, mostly over last weekend, for the second running of the $20 million contest at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. The 14-strong field includes two locally-trained horses, Great Scot (GB) (Requinto {Ire}) and Alzahzaah (KSA) (Worldly), who face competition from Britain, Japan and Bahrain as well as five runners from the United States. For most of the American contingent, stronger work had taken place on the...

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Classic Hero Mishriff Returns To Riyadh

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—The world is a much different place 12 months on from the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting when the full horror of the Coronavirus crisis was only beginning to become apparent. So many of racing's key events have been disrupted since then and, with many countries still in lockdown or under severe travel restrictions, it is no small wonder that this year's meeting is able to proceed, even though the attendance will be markedly reduced from last year. Eschewing the obvious travel complications, a posse of 27 European-trained horses...

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Albadri Primed for Saudi Derby

Jane Chapple-Hyam's Albadri (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) will take part in the $1.5-million Saudi Derby on the $20-million Saudi Cup undercard on Feb. 20. A winner on debut, the bay colt raced exclusively in stakes company in his next four starts, with his best finish a fifth in the G3 Tattersalls S. in September. His final 2020 appearance was a sixth in the G3 Horris Hill S. two starts later on Oct. 24. In his latest run, he handled the Southwell synthetic well and saluted by a length in a...

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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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