By Nicholas Godfrey
UAE: Capezzano’s sparkling comeback victory at Meydan on Thursday has left his connections dreaming of the most lucrative prizes in the sport with both the Saudi Cup in two weeks’ time and the Dubai World Cup at the end of March set to figure on the six-year-old’s timetable.
With a $20 million purse, the Saudi Cup is the world’s richest race – and the Dubai World Cup comes second on the ‘rich list’ with $12m in prize-money.
Trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer was desperate to get a run into Capezzano, unseen since he finished last of 12 behind Thunder Snow as 2-1 favourite for last year’s Dubai World Cup.
Returning to action in the G3 Firebreak Stakes over a mile on the Meydan dirt, the son of Bernardini produced a totally dominant performance under Mickael Barzalona, making all for a seven-length victory that set him up for the Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh on February 29.
“Always his first time out, he doesn’t perform, but we saved him this year since we heard about the Saudi race and for the World Cup,” said Bin Ghadayer.
“We believe in this horse and his ability. We wanted to wait until this race. I know it’s just two weeks until the Saudi Cup, but we needed the race for his confidence and thank God he performed well. He showed his ability. We will go to the Saudi race and then World Cup night.”
Saudi Cup officials are now listing a field of 14 for their showpiece event, with former British-trained pair Mjjack and Great Scot, formerly trained by Karl Burke and Tom Dascombe respectively, set to represent the home team.
Mjjack won his place in the field by winning Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious domestic race, the recent Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup, while Great Scot – a G3 winner at Haydock on his last British start – was purchased specifically with the Saudi Cup in mind.
Saudi Cup betting
Ladbrokes: 2 Maximum Security, 11-4 McKinzie, 5 Mucho Gusto, 11-2 Benbatl, 6 Capezzano, 8 Midnight Bisou, 20 Chrysoberyl, North America, Tacitus, 25 Gronkowski, Magic Wand, Mjjack, 33 Gold Dream, 40 Great Scot.
• Learn more about the world’s richest race at thesaudicup.com