The Jockey Membership of Saudi Arabia has unveiled an enormous record of entries, together with lots of the world’s high horses, for the second version of the Saudi Cup assembly Feb. 19-20 at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh.
The $20 million Saudi Cup itself, the world’s richest race, drew greater than 100 entries from 9 nations together with Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Swiss Skydiver, Runhappy Malibu Stakes (G1) winner Charlatan, and Massive Ass Followers Breeders’ Cup Dust Mile (G1) winner Knicks Go. The sector is restricted to 14 starters.
The American entry record for the 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8-miles) Saudi Cup additionally contains Jesus’ Team, Sleepy Eyes Todd, Tacitus, Storm the Court, Max Player, Math Wizard, and Independence Hall.
England’s William Haggas entered the likes of a number of group 1 winner Addeybb whereas John Gosden entered Prix du Jockey Membership (French Derby, G1) winner Mishriff and spectacular all-weather specialists Global Giant and Dubai Warrior.
A giant Japanese entry record contains Omega Fragrance, latest winner of the Tokyo Daishoten (G1) on the Oi Racecourse dust; 2020 Japan Dust Derby winner Danon Pharaoh; and Japan’s just lately topped Dust Horse of the 12 months, Chuwa Wizard, who gained an automated spot for the Saudi Cup when profitable final month’s Champions Cup (G1).
The winner of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 23 additionally can have an automated entry to the Saudi Cup.
Highly effective contenders from the Center East embody North America, a drive in Dubai in 2019 however next-to-last within the 2020 Saudi Cup, and New York Central, the locally-trained winner of the 2020 Saudia Cup Dash. Additionally entered is Alzahzaah, skilled at King Abdulaziz by Shaleh Alotalbi and winner of his final 4 begins, most just lately the home grade 1, the Crown Prince Cup.
The outpouring of entries for the Saudi Cup comes regardless of an ongoing controversy over the 2020 final result. The $10 million winner’s share of the 2020 purse nonetheless has not been paid as Saudi authorities await the outcomes of United States investigations and litigation involving the doping scandal allegedly tied to Jason Servis, who skilled Maximum Security to victory in that race.
The $1.5 million Saudi Derby additionally drew entries from across the globe, together with Jackie’s Warrior and Hot Rod Charlie from the U.S. and Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium des Pouliches (G1) winner Tiger Tanaka.
Coach Invoice Mott has entered a number of grade 1 winner Channel Maker in each the $2.5 million Lengthy Distance Turf Handicap at 3,000 meters (about 1 7/8 miles) and the $1 million Center Distance Turf Cup at 2,100 meters (about 1 3/8 miles).
Invoice Mott stablemates Tacitus (exterior) and Channel Maker prepare at Keeneland for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships
The assembly opens Feb. 19 with a brand new race, the $500,000 Saudi Worldwide Handicap, meant to provide “a chance for horses skilled in Half II and III racing nations an opportunity to compete on the worldwide stage,” in accordance with Tom Ryan, director of technique and worldwide planning for the JCSA.
Entries for that occasion are restricted to Half II and III jurisdictions and are available from 9 nations—Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic, and Greece.
Opening-day races additionally embody the Worldwide Jockeys’ Problem heats. Final yr’s problem winner, Swiss rider Sibylle Vogt, returns to defend her crown.
Ryan stated organizers are “completely thrilled” with the entries, notably given the challenges concerned with the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
“Contemplating that is solely the second yr of a brand new worldwide racing occasion, each the standard and depth of entries has grown considerably, and there’s some actually sturdy momentum behind the assembly,” Ryan stated. “We have now seen marked enhancements throughout the board however most satisfying to us is the help that our turf races and the Saudi Derby have obtained.”
The 2020 turf races had been the primary ever run at King Abdulaziz Racetrack, carried out over a purpose-grown course that drew reward from jockeys and trainers.