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2020 Saudi Cup Workouts


McKinzie (Saudi Cup), True Self (Longines Turf Handicap), and Sir Dancealot (The 1351 Cup) on the track Wednesday morning.
Date: 02/26/2020

On Wednesday morning in Riyadh, entrants for the inaugural running of the $20 million Saudi Cup and its rich undercard were at King Abdulaziz Racetrack on the main track. It was noticeably cooler compared to Tuesday, with temperatures in the low 60's during training hours and a daytime high of only 75, with the main track remaimning fast and the turf course still good-to-firm (GoingStick 9.2). The races will be run Saturday evening (Saturday morning in North America), with the Saudi Cup going to post at 8:40pm local time (12:40pm ET). In North America the full card will be broadcast live on TVG in the USA and HPI in Canada. In addition, FOX Sports 1's show will start at noon featuring the main event only. The Saudi Cup will be contested at 1800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) around one turn of the 1 1/4 mile main track.

Here are photos and comments for 28 horses that were out Wednesday morning. Please click the smaller photos to see a larger version.


Chrysoberyl (Saudi Cup) cantered steadily for half a lap on the dirt track at 7:10am. "He lost about 20kg during his journey to Saudi Arabia, which was an initial concern, but he was very relaxed today. He has been eating very well for the couple of days, so his condition is getting better. Christophe Soumillon will breeze him tomorrow," trainer Hidetaka Otonashi said. After drawing post 10, Otonashi added, "I didn't want an inside draw so 10 should be OK. I will meet with Christophe (Soumillon, jockey) tomorrow and discuss tactics then."
McKinzie (Saudi Cup) galloped on Wednesday with trainer Bob Baffert on hand. Baffert said, "He worked great before he left (February 17, 6f at Santa Anita in 1:11 4/5). We just let him open up through the lane (on Tuesday). Until you put them in the gate you never really know. You're watching and all of a sudden, they turn it on. They've adjusted a little bit. You have to come with really good horses. If you get away well and have some luck you still have to show up."
Midnight Bisou (Saudi Cup) galloped in company with stablemate Rowdy Yates. Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen said, "Midnight Bisou and Rowdy Yates both galloped a mile on the dirt. They will both stand in the starting gate (Thursday), Midnight Bisou will go at 7am and Rowdy Yates at 9am." The 5-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute, will be facing male rivals for the first time in the race, following a second-place run in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park in November. After drawing post 6, Asmussen said, "That's the perfect spot for her."
Mucho Gusto (Saudi Cup) was also sent out by trainer Bob Baffert after stablemate McKinzie. Baffert said, "Mucho Gusto has really changed a lot. These last three months I've seen a big change in him. He's filled out. He's just changed for the better. You could tell from that last work right before the Pegasus Cup Invitational (at Gulfstream Park on January 25) a light went on in him. The way he ran. He's always shown up. He's always run hard. He'll be right there." After drawing post 8, Baffert added, "I find it interesting that all the Americans drew together six, seven, eight and nine, they're going to have to bring their A-games, you can't show up with your B-game."

Called to the Bar (Longines Turf Handicap) cantered on the main track under Joakim Brandt, husband of trainer Pia Brandt. Joakim said, "He is in great form. He came here on Sunday and everything is going all right. He ran a good race in Hong Kong and seeing that he likes good ground it made sense to bring him here."

Call the Wind (Longines Turf Handicap) galloped on the dirt supervised by trainer Freddy Head. Head said, "I'm very happy with the horse and very happy to be here. He did a seven furlong canter this morning. He is fit and all the work has been done at home."

King's Advice (Longines Turf Handicap) warmed up for his trip to Saudi Arabia with outings at Lingfield at Kempton in the last few weeks and was again exercised on the dirt track on Wednesday. "He did two 1200m canters and will do the same again tomorrow," said Robynne Watton, assistant to trainer Mark Johnston. "He arrived here in the early hours of Sunday morning and got to the track around 7.30am that day. He seems happy and is eating well."

Prince of Arran (Longines Turf Handicap) arrived out onto the dirt track at 7.10am for a canter and appears to have settled well into his new surroundings. Charlie Fellowes's 7-year-old is a dual Melbourne Cup runner-up and will be having his first start of 2020. "He has travelled as well as expected for an old pro like him," said Fellowes, from his Newmarket base. "He has taken well to his new surroundings and his temperature is good. He has done a couple of canters and the team there have been pleased with him. I am flying out later today and look forward to seeing him on the track tomorrow."

True Self (Longines Turf Handicap) went out onto the main track. The Willie Mullins trainee represents Ireland.
Deirdre (Neom Turf Cup) breezed on the turf under regular rider Yuta Koiyama. "She likes warmer weather, so I am happy with her condition at the moment and how she moved this morning," trainer Mitsuru Hashida said. "She was moving very beautifully on turf. I think the course is well maintained and flat with good cushion. I am so impressed with how tough she is both physically and mentally and I am also grateful her attitude towards training and racing. This is the first time for a Japanese trainer to keep a horse outside of Japan this long amount of time, so I cannot thank all the people in Newmarket enough for all the great support and I would like to thank all the individual members of my team who are doing their best to take care of her. We will skip the trip to Dubai and she will go back to Newmarket after Saturday's race. We will take aim at our biggest target of the year, the Prix l'Arc de Triomphe, in October. I am very honoured to be involved in the inaugural international racing event in Saudi Arabia and we hope she will win."

Intellogent (Neom Turf Cup) cantered on the main track. The Fabrice Chappet trainee represents France.

Royal Youmzain (Neom Turf Cup) cantered on the main track at 7:10am. The Andreas Wohler trainee represents Germany.

Trais Fluors (Neom Turf Cup) cantered on the turf course at 7:00am. The Ken Condon trainee represents Ireland.

Cherokee Trail (Saudi Derby) cantered on the main track at 7:10am in company with stablemate Mishriff. Thady Gosden, assistant to father John said, "They have both been out on the track yesterday and today and have easy canters over around 1400 metres. They have basically just been trotting since they got here and will do the same the next couple of days. They both arrived very early on Sunday and seem to be very much enjoying themselves."

Full Flat (Saudi Derby) breezed on the dirt track and big-race pilot Yutaka Take said: "He is in good condition. He raced in America last year, so he traveled well. I am looking forward to his performance."

Mishrif (Saudi Derby) cantered on the main track at 7:10am in company with stablemate Cherokee Trail. Thady Gosden, assistant to father John said, "They have both been out on the track yesterday and today and have easy canters over around 1400 metres. They have basically just been trotting since they got here and will do the same the next couple of days. They both arrived very early on Sunday and seem to be very much enjoying themselves."

Rowdy Yates (Saudi Derby) galloped in company with stablemate Midnight Bisou. Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen said, "Midnight Bisou and Rowdy Yates both galloped a mile on the dirt. They will both stand in the starting gate (Thursday), Midnight Bisou will go at 7am and Rowdy Yates at 9am."

Graignes (The 1351 Cup) cantered on the main track at 7:00am. A recent purchase to the George Baker barn in England having been placed fifth in two French Grade 1 events and fourth in the Paris-Longchamp 2000 Guineas, the 4-year-old was again first out on the turf track at 7am. His trainer will arrive in the country on Thursday.

King Malpic (The 1351 Cup) galloped on the dirt at 7:10am. The Thierry Lemer trainee represents France.

Momkin (The 1351 Cup) came out at 7:15am for his scheduled gallop. The William Haggas trainee represents Great Britain.

Sir Dancealot (The 1351 Cup) came out on the main track at 7:10am. The David Elsworth trainee represents Great Britain.

Captain Scotty (Saudia Sprint) galloped on the main track in company with stablemate Ghoul. Kenny Black, assistant to trainer Peter Miller said, "We jogged Captain Scotty and schooled in the starting gate. (Thursday) we will train Ghoul and Billy Batts - probably just give them an easy jog day. ‘Scotty' will walk. We've done all our serious work breezes. Now just get them rested and happy."

Gladiator King (Saudia Sprint) brings the eye-catching orange and black silks of Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi into the race with no lack of confidence. "He's done nothing wrong," trainer Satish Seemar said. "He has a 100% record with us and since the day he got here at Zabeel (Racing Stables), he's been 100%. I know he's a solid Group 3 horse on paper at the moment and is going against some good Group 1 winners, but I feel we have an advantage because he's in great form and very fit."

Manguzi (Saudia Sprint) galloped on the main track. The Abdul Aziz Khalid trainee represents the United Arab Emirates.

Aoun (Obaiya Arabian Classic) galloped on the main track at 7:10am. The Antoine de Watrigant trainee represents France.

Mashhur Al Khalediah (Obaiya Arabian Classic) galloped on the main track. The Phil Collington trainee represents Great Britain.
Left: Trainer Bob Baffert and assistant Jimmy Barnes looking a bit chilly on Wednesday morning. After drawing post 9 for McKinzie, Baffert said, "Nines are good. I find it interesting that all the Americans drew together six, seven, eight and nine, they're going to have to bring their A-games, you can't show up with your B-game."

Right: A scenic view of the grandstand while Mucho Gusto gallops by.

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