Saudi Cup: Maximum Security investigation paused until completion of US legal process

Horse Racing Jason Servis trainer Maximum Security Saudi Cup investigation
Jason Servis: Saudi Cup victory of Maximum Security remains under a cloud. Photo: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia. Mahmoud Khaled

By Jon Lees

Saudi Arabia: Maximum Security’s victory in the inaugural Saudi Cup remains unresolved with the Saudi investigation paused until the legal process in the US, where trainer Jason Servis has been charged with drug offences, has been completed.

Nearly 18 months since Maximum Security landed the world’s richest horse race, the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia has not paid out the $10 million first prize-money pending its own inquiry which was launched following Servis’s arrest in an FBI probe into the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Servis, one of 20-plus defendants in the case, has pleaded not guilty and is set to appear in  court on December 2. Jorge Navarro, the other big name trainer involved, pleaded guilty to doping offences and is awaiting sentence, which could see him serve up to five years in jail.

Tom Ryan, director of strategy and international racing for the JCSA, addressed the issue during a press conference to launch the 2022 Saudi Cup.

“We have been quite regular in our commentary on this one,” he said. “We have updated people any time we have felt we have had reason to update them.

“We continue to await the outcome of the legal process in America. It is unfortunate everyone has to wait this long but we have been unable to continue with our investigation until evidence that we believe may be available there comes into our hands.

“We have taken every opportunity to conclude it as best we can but we now must be a little bit more patient and wait for the American process to conclude,”

The Saudi Cup, which will be run as a G1 for the first time next year, will be the highlight of a two day meeting on February 25 and 26 2022 when total prize-money will increase to $35.1million, making it the most valuable fixture in global racing.

Five supporting thoroughbred races on the Saturday card have been awarded G3 status with prize-money for both the G3 Neom Turf Cup and G3 1351 Turf Sprint has increased by $500,000 to $1.5million. 

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