UAE: Frankie Dettori bids for a fourth Dubai World Cup success when he partners Saudi Cup third Great Scot in the $12 million showpiece at Meydan on Saturday.
Winner of the G3 Superior Mile at Haydock as a three-year-old in September 2019 for former trainer Tom Dascombe, the gelding was sold to Saudi interests with the $20m Saudi Cup in mind and is now trained by Abdullah Mishrif in Riyadh.
Although Great Scot was only 12th after being struck into in the inaugural running of the world’s richest race, he improved to claim third behind Mishriff last month at King Abdulaziz racecourse, where he has been a regular winner since his move.
“He ran a great race in the Saudi Cup last month – it’s a good ride to get,” said Dettori, who has yet to win a World Cup at Meydan.
Although he is bidding to equal Jerry Bailey’s record mark of four World Cup wins after Dubai Milennium (2000), Moon Ballad (2003) and Electrocutionist (2006), all of them came at the old venue Nad Al Sheba.
“The surface and trip will suit him and he’s done nothing wrong in his prep for this race,” added Dettori, who has a full book of eight mounts in the thoroughbred races at Meydan, among them Dubai Turf favourite Lord North and the Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral in the Al Quoz Sprint.
A total of 24 Saudi-trained horses have run in the Dubai World Cup since its inception in 1996 with Sei Mi’s runner-up effort in 2002, when he was beaten 4¼ lengths by Street Cry, the best outcome so far.
Great Scot’s owner HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled is hopeful of a good result for Saudi Arabia in the World Cup, for which the market is headed by Godolphin’s US trainee Mystic Guide, the mount of Luis Saez.
“I’m particularly excited about this horse,” said Prince Faisal. “He has really taken to the track and conditions in Riyadh and his form here has been so consistent. I’m delighted he got to show how good he is against the internationals and the USA dirt horses.
“We are honoured to receive the invitation to the Dubai World Cup and to represent Saudi Arabia on the world stage and, you never know, perhaps bring home a first win for the country.
“Hopefully there will be many more opportunities for Saudi owners, trainers and jockeys to showcase their talents on the global stage in years to come.”
Dettori will have to overcome the inside berth in a 14-runner field on the five-year-old.
“We would have preferred a slightly wider draw and we may have to look at tactics but it is not big problem for the horse really,” said trainer Abdullah Mishrif.
“He is a light horse, easy to get fit, quite straightforward. He is very sensitive and he likes his routine, likes his own groom with him all the time but he’s settled in very well here.
“He has a smart mind and if you treat him well, he gives you absolutely 100 per cent. We see this in his work and in his races. He was injured after breaking from the stalls in the Saudi Cup last year when he was struck into by another horse.
“It goes to show how tough he is that he even finished the race, to be honest. He went on to win three races in a row after that and showed he is the proper horse that we have always thought him to be.”
Former Richard Hannon-trained Urban Icon will also represent Saudi Arabia on Saturday in the G2 Godolphin Mile, where he also carries Prince Faisal’s red-and-white colours. The five-year-old was third, beaten only a length by Al Quoz favourite Space Blues, in the stc 1351 Turf Sprint on the Saudi Cup undercard.
Dubai World Cup betting (Ladbrokes): 5-2 Mystic Guide, 9-2 Jesus’ Team, 6 Military Law, 7 Salute The Soldier, 12 Hypothetical, Sleepy Eyes Todd, Magny Cours, Great Scot, 16 Chuwa Wizard, 20 Title Ready, 33 bar.