• The week’s significant milestones
1 Lisa Allpress
Saudi Arabia: Only one but a potentially significant one as three-time New Zealand champ became the first woman to ride a winner in Saudi Arabia in the first race of the historic male v female jockey challenge on Friday’s card in Riyadh the day before the Saudi Cup.
In a kingdom criticised for its record with regard to women’s rights, this was the first time females had been allowed to ride competitively. Sybille Vogt, the German-based Swiss, was also on the scoresheet in a four-race series won by Mike Smith.
Saudi Arabia: He may never have raced beyond 1m2f himself but Frankel can clearly get all sorts of top-class horses as a sire: witness Saturday’s one-two via Call The Wind and Mekong in the $2.5m stayers’ race on the Saudi Cup undercard.
31 Angel Cordero
USA: Angel Cordero represented John Velazquez for 31 years before news broke last weekend that the pair had parted company. “I love him – he’s been great for me and great for my career,” said Velazquez, speaking to the Daily Racing Form. “But I’m getting older and I just wanted to try something different.”
The legendary former rider was responsible for bringing Johnny V to the States from Puerto Rico in the first place; now veteran jockey agent Ron Anderson is taking over.
14 Mike Smith
Saudi Arabia: Several riders were banned for whip offences in a contentious aftermath to what was otherwise a magnificent Saudi Cup meeting. Chief among the transgressors was Mike Smith, who left Riyadh with 11 days’ suspension in total, nine of them for whip abuse on Saudi Cup runner-up Midnight Bisou, whom he was adjudged to hit 14 times – well in excess of the ten-strike limit.
As a result, he also forfeited 60% of his share of the runner-up’s $3.5m prize-money, which amounted to $210,000. Irad Ortiz was also banned for ten days (eight on Friday’s card, two more for Mucho Gusto), while Oisin Murphy copped a couple on Deirdre in the opener.
100 Cox Plate
New Zealand: Australasia’s premier weight-for-age contest hits the century in 2020 and the gold trophy is being taken on a tour of New Zealand to celebrate, starting at the Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on Saturday.