UPDATE! WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SAUDI CUP…
By Nicholas Godfrey
Lingfield Park: Betway Winter Derby Trial (Listed) 1m2f, AW, 4yo+
Bangkok (Andrew Balding/Ryan Moore)
Having run in Qatar and Bahrain in the past, Bangkok is now set to try his luck in the Saudi Cup, the world’s richest race on February 20 in Riyadh, after a narrow repeat victory in this Listed contest, which turned into a tactical affair.
Under first-time rider Ryan Moore, Bangkok was settled in fourth of five before the race developed into a sprint off the home turn and he hit the front inside the furlong marker.
Without needing the whip, the five-year-old had enough in hand to hold the strong-finishing Felix by a half-length and claim this fast-track qualifier for the Betway Easter Classic on Good Friday (April 2). Before that, however, this AW regular will make his debut on dirt in the $20 million Saudi Cup.
Shall we talk about it?
Andrew Balding (trainer): “That was just what we wanted because we have accepted an invitation for the Saudi Cup in a fortnight’s time, so we were hoping he could get the race won without having too hard a race.
“Running on the dirt will obviously be an experiment and we won’t know until we try, but I have always thought strongly run races like that would suit him well. As long as he comes out today’s race well, he will be going there in perfect condition.
“We are really pleased because he has done it nicely and not had too hard a race. That was our intention and Ryan gave him a lovely ride. The horse settled very well, and Ryan was following the right horses, in touch to strike when he thought it was time to.”
Ryan Moore (jockey): “He is a lovely horse. He has high class form and has won Group races.He has shown a good turn of foot here, as he has done previously. I think they are three smart horses because we picked up very well in the straight. It was nice to be asked to ride him today and he has done what he was entitled to do.”