DAVID EGAN could hardly believe it as Mishriff repelled the Americans to win the $20m Saudi Cup. Here, in his own words, is the story of how the 21-year-old recorded an amazing victory in the world’s richest race.
This is unbelievable – I’ve been dreaming all my life of winning a race like this. Obviously it is the highest thing I will win for a while now; the Saudi Cup is the richest race in the world.
I can’t believe it but it was Mishriff that won it. He’s an absolute champion. I’m just privileged to be connected with such a class horse.
Everyone connected with this horse has done such a great job and I’m just delighted to get back on board on the big day. I’d like to thank Prince Faisal, Mr Gosden, all of his team, Thady (Gosden) is here, Ted Voute – there are so many people to thank, and Mishriff most of all. He’s the champion.
I’d also like to thank The Saudi Cup for putting on such a great event in these tough times and for making everything as COVID-safe as we could all be.
Last year Mishriff was always a horse who seemed to jump slow; maybe it was just through immaturity. Last year in the Saudi Derby he jumped slow behind the Japanese horse to finish second – I thought to myself that if he had jumped on terms he nearly would have won last year so it’s redemption for him in Saudi, in Prince Faisal’s backyard.
MIshriff has matured throughout the year and Mr Gosden had him primed for today. He looked a million dollars – well, 10 million dollars! He’s been training well on the track; he seems to enjoy the track here and has been very relaxed in the mornings.
I spoke to a lot of people and got a lot of good advice about riding on the dirt, from people in America and a good friend of my dad’s Joe Deegan, who rode a lot in America and went through the race with me.
‘He’s taken on top-class horses from all round the world’
I was delighted he jumped so well as that was very important; he has never jumped as well as that. He jumped as good as the two American horses. I squeezed him on for the first 50 yards and I was actually surprised how well he went, through the back straight I was on Mike Smith’s heels and he was really taking me into it.
I got pressed on the rail when we started turning and that was the only worrying sign I had, when they started quickening whether I was going to get back rolling again, but once we turned into the straight he picked up.
Once he ran second here last year I am sure it was on the Prince and Mr Gosden’s minds to come here. He had such a good season in Europe last year and this is in Prince Faisal’s back garden, it’s where he lives, so it was a no-brainer. He’s taken on top-class horses from all round the world and proved how good he is.
Maybe it’s just me but it hasn’t quite sunk in. With that amount of prize-money on offer, it’s a huge deal, but going into the race I didn’t feel the pressure – it was just like going out for a normal race.
Once you pass the line it starts to sink in and you realise what a big deal it is. Loads of people have put a lot of hard work and time into this horse, and to be able to repay them all is great.
My dad [John Egan] is helping out with the Bahrain horses and riding for Fawzi Nass in the mornings, so it is very special to have him here. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be the rider or the person I am today. He’s done everything he can to help me in my career, pushed me and trained me hard. This one’s for him.
• Visit the Saudi Cup website