UPDATE! WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SAUDI CUP…
Saudi Arabia: Putative initial fields have been released for the world’s richest raceday featuring the Saudi Cup in Riyadh on February 20.
A total of 15 individual G1 winners feature in a star-studded potential line-up on an eight-race card worth a total of $30.5 million at King Abdulaziz racecourse, which will again host an international jockeys’ challenge on the Friday [Feb 19] as an appetiser to the main event on Saturday.
A total of 77 overseas contenders from 13 different nations appear on the initial cast list across the two days, with the $20m highlight likely to feature a clash between top US dirt performers Knicks Go and Charlatan. Other notable runners are headed by Japan’s Champions Cup winner Chuwa Wizard and the John Gosden-trained Mishriff, second in the Saudi Derby at last year’s meeting before winning the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby).
Friday’s card also features a new race in the $500,000 Al Rajhi Bank International Handicap, which is specifically aimed at horses trained in IFHA Part II or Part III countries. Horses trained in Spain, the Czech Republic and Greece are among those engaged.
“We were very excited when we saw the entry list for the second staging of the Saudi Cup and now we know the likely fields, we really are delighted,” commented Tom Ryan, director of strategy and international racing for the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia.
“A battle between the likes of Knicks Go, Charlatan, Mishriff and Chuwa Wizard in the Saudi Cup would be a huge thrill, while the strength and quality of all the other races has really stood up.
“The entire team are working incredibly hard to deliver a world-class event where the health and safety of all participants is paramount. It has obviously been a difficult year for everyone and we are glad that we are able to put on this meeting for racing fans all over the world to enjoy.”