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2022 Saudi Cup Workouts


Top American hope Mandaloun checks out the competition Thursday morning.
Date: 2/24/2022

On Thursday morning in Riyadh, entrants for the third running of the $20 million Saudi Cup and its rich undercard were at King Abdulaziz Racetrack on the main track. Conditions were typical for late February, with clear skies and temperatures in the high 70's during training. The races will be run Saturday evening (Saturday morning in North America), with the Saudi Cup going to post at 8:35pm local time (12:35pm ET). In North America the full card will be broadcast live on TVG in the USA and HPI in Canada, as well as on FOX Sports 2 from 8am-1pm ET. 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 33 horses that were out Wednesday morning. Please click the smaller photos to see a larger version.


Art Collector (Saudi Cup) continued to strut around with assistant trainer Neil Poznansky keeping him focussed. "Art Collector was fine, he didn't get revved up, he jogged around smoothly," Poznansky said."Luis (Saez) knows Art Collector well. He gets him out of the gate and secures a good position on him which an older horse obviously likes. The horse seems to respond to him very well. Tomorrow we will just gallop. We won't be doing too much the day before the race. I will be trying to get Art Collector around there, I don't want to fight him or anything like that but I don't want to go too fast either."

Magny Cours (Saudi Cup) drew gate number number 7 in The Saudi Cup and on Thursday morning, Richard Lambert, who was watching the Godolphin-owned horse canter on the dirt, said: "That number is all right for us. There are good horses around us. This morning he cantered and just quickened in the final 1/16 to see how he moved. He was more relaxed than yesterday, which is good, as he can easily get worked up. However, he loves travelling. He is a different horse when he is abroad."

Mandaloun (Saudi Cup) galloped on the main track then schooled in the starting gate. Trainer Brad Cox said, "We normally stand him in the gate. We breezed on Tuesday this week so it's a little bit of a different schedule than we're used to. The gates are a little more narrow here than we are used to at home. He's a strong horse. He was really really good and moving around great. He jogged straight to the top of the lane and then galloped back around. So far everything looks really good, I believe we are on track for a big effort."

Midnight Bourbon (Saudi Cup) went around steadily for an easy morning workout, with assistant trainer Scott Blasi pleased with his progress throughout the week.Team Steve Asmussen has been toutingMidnight Bourbonas one of the most talented horses in training, and he will have to back up those fighting cries when renewing his rivalry with Grade 1 winner Mandaloun.

Mishriff (Saudi Cup) defending championdid a repeat of Wednesday's exercise when strolling along the chute before cantering a lap of the dirt track with regular rider Ben de Paiva. Co-trainer Thady Gosden said: "He just went for a nice canter this morning. He was pointing his toe and stretched out nicely. He's very relaxed here and has settled into it well. He enjoys this surface."

Real World (Saudi Cup) was out on the main track in company with his stablemates. "Real World did a mile and a quarter routine canter this morning on the dirt track and he looks good," trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said. "The ground is a little bit deep which is different to last year and I hope it will be the same as the race - a little bit different."

Sealiway (Saudi Cup) was out on the dirt track where he cantered behind fellow French compatriot Glycon. "He went a little bit quicker this morning," trainer Francis-Henri Graffard said. "He came onto the dirt track behind Glycon and so was much more focused. He moved well and was on the right leg going into the turn, which is exactly what I wanted to see this morning."

Secret Ambition (Saudi Cup) got his first look at the local surroundings and had an easy gallop around the 2000m dirt track before promptly returning to the barns. He was accompanied by fellow Zabeel pupils Gladiator King and Switzerland. Trainer Bhupat Seemar said, "He's a fighter and he will come on in a big way from his first run in the Maktoum Challenge. It's always hard to run against horses who have already had a run and he is nine, so you can only do so much in the mornings to get him ready. He was 80% fit for that and got a big blow and battled hard, like usual. Hopefully we get a good break on Saturday and he runs his regular hard-trying race."

T O Keynes (Saudi Cup) went to the paddock for schooling and had a gate exercise. "I am happy with how he has behaved and stayed quietly in the gate. I will talk to the starter that I want him to load in last," trainer Daisuke Takayanagi said.
Dubai Future (Red Sea Turf Handicap) cantered 1 1/4 miles in company with stablemate Desert Fire. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, "They have held their form really well. They are super fit and I think the trip will be fine for them. I think if they go steady in the race like last year that both of them have a real good chance. Thankfully all my horses have travelled here well. I think Dubai Future's mile and a half form is really strong so we have to give him a chance at this trip to see how he goes."
Siskany (Red Sea Turf Handicap) galloped on the main track in company with stablemates Naval Crown, Noble Truth, and Sovereign Prince. Assistant trainer Chris Connett said, "They have just stretched their legs, just nice canters, to keep them ticking over and also to get used to the track for the first time. They have all travelled over fine from Dubai. Their last bit of fast work was done back home at Marmoom on Tuesday."
Desert Fire (Red Sea Turf Handicap) cantered 1 1/4 miles in company with stablemate Dubai Future. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, "They have held their form really well. They are super fit and I think the trip will be fine for them. I think if they go steady in the race like last year that both of them have a real good chance. Thankfully all my horses have travelled here well."

Kiefer (Saudi Derby) comes here off a second place finish in the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) at Meydan on February 11. Regular rider Hector Lazo gets the call for trainer Ricardo Colombo.

Sovereign Prince (Saudi Derby) has improved with each run in Dubai and has earned his stripes to be in the race," trainer Charlie Appleby said. "He goes there with plenty of race nous and he will be competitive. He certainly won't look out of place.

Jacinda (Saudi Derby) did a hack canter for a lap of the dirt track on Thursday morning in company with some of her fellow French-trained runners, and then followed this with a stronger canter for a lap. Owner-breeder Jocelyn Targett said, "She's going great guns. She's eating everything in front of her, including taking a bite out of Jesse, who travelled with her from France. Everyone is delighted with her. She is moving well and most importantly coping really well mentally."

Gladiator King (Riyadh Dirt Sprint) has had his hiccups over the past year, but two years ago, when third in Saudi Arabia, he was considered the top dirt sprinter in Dubai. He has since returned to racing just three times, including a pair of thirds and the aforementioned runner-up effort. Trainer Bhupat Seemar is hopeful that he has the son of Curlin going the right direction. "After his last run, he popped a quarter crack and missed 10 days, but since then he caught up quickly and has really had some consistently strong works. On training, he's not far off from Switzerland, to be honest. He might need the race, but he's got enough class to be right there and he's proven it before."

Switzerland (Riyadh Dirt Sprint) galloped on the main track. "He's done nothing wrong and I think he's training really well," trainer Bhupat Seemar said. "He is coming off a really good win and we've got a different style of riding him now. Tadhg has done well with him. I think he'll sit mid-division and won't get crowded. Whether in the race or at home, he does everything so easily and effortlessly. We actually don't know how much more he has in the tank, because he does all of it on the bridle. I've always really liked him and ever since one day when he went 57.2 out of the gate [for 1000m] and did it easily, I knew we had a serious horse."

Rudy Trigger (Riyadh Dirt Sprint) won the Premio Cuidad de la Plata (G2) in Argentina in November before finishing 4th as the favorite in the Oud Metha Stakes at Meydan on February 4. Regular rider Francisco Fernandes gets the call for trainer Maria Cristina Munoz.

Naval Crown (1351 Turf Sprint) galloped in company with the rest of the Charlie Appleby string. Assistant trainer Chris Connett said, "Naval Crown has a tough position widest in 14 in his race but he has a lot of early pace and William [Buick, jockey] and Charlie will assess it. What I do know is that we think a huge amount of him. Space Blues won this race for us last year and the plan will be to try and chart a similar path with Naval Crown as the season progresses."

Pogo (1351 Turf Sprint) ventured out on to the turf track for some exercise this morning. The six-year-old son of Zebedee last ran in November in the Bahrain International Trophy for owners Gary and Linnet Woodward. Assistant trainer Mark Lashly said: "Pogo seemed happy enough and enjoyed himself out on the turf track this morning - he just went six furlongs round the bend. He was very energetic - a bit more this morning than usual - but we're very happy with him."

Happy Romance (1351 Turf Sprint) won the Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury, a sales race at York and the Group 3 Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury as a juvenile before scoring twice over six furlongs last year as a 3-year-old, including the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury. "Happy Romance has settled in fine," trainer Richard Hannon said. "She's eaten up and I'm very happy with her."

Passion and Glory (Neom Turf Cup) racked up an impressive hat-trick in England last season before finishing third in a Group 1 at Baden-Baden in September. "Passion And Glory has a good draw and I think the track is good for him," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. "His form in England is better than what he showed us his last two times in Dubai but maybe he needed those races and now there is no excuses for him because he is in the right race and we'll see how he goes."

Eudaimonia (Neom Turf Cup) came onto the dirt track where her French trainer Edouard Monfort watched her do a steady canter in front of the grandstand, and he said: "She travelled well and looks well. We haven't done much since she arrived, as she did all of her work at home. She has drawn the rail and that should be an advantage, as the goal is to be up there with the pace and see that we get taken along as far as possible."

Harrab (Obaiya Arabian Classic)

Zalej Al Cham (Obaiya Arabian Classic)

Ajuste Fiscal (International Handicap) galloped in company with stablemate El Patriota. Trainer Antonio Cintra said, "I sent them to the turf track just so they could have a feel of it. They are both ready to race. It was a slow canter. Both of their respective jockeys came back saying they took to it. The comments of the jocks were that they were happy with them. Hector Lazo was on Ajuste Fiscal. Ajuste Fiscal got quite warm, he's a bit of a nervous horse. They had to wait for five to 10 minutes for the track to open and hence he got a little bit worked up.I couldn't be more pleased, I am expecting a very good race for both of them.""

Asian Angel (International Handicap) is unraced since finishing 7th in the Hardwick Badger Invades Handicap at Wolverhampton on October 19.

El Patriota (International Handicap) galloped in company with stablemate Ajuste Fiscal. Trainer Antonio Cintra said, "I sent them to the turf track just so they could have a feel of it. They are both ready to race. It was a slow canter. Both of their respective jockeys came back saying they took to it. The comments of the jocks were that they were happy with them. Vagner Leal was on El Patriota. "

Lauderdale (International Handicap) galloped in company with stablemate King Shalaa. Trainer Alban de Mieulle said, "It's a handicap and we say that all horses have a chance in these races. It is a new challenge for them, but they are used to travelling. Lauderdale didn't jump very well from the gate last time, but I hope he will be better this time. It's a very nice track, the grass is perfect. The dirt track looks nice, not too deep, the facilities are very good and so is the organization, well done to Saudi Arabia."

King Shalaa (International Handicap) galloped in company with stablemate Lauderdale. Trainer Alban de Mieulle said, "It's a handicap and we say that all horses have a chance in these races. It is a new challenge for them, but they are used to travelling. King Shalaa is drawn on the wide outside, but Olivier Peslier knows the horse and he knows what to do. It's a very nice track, the grass is perfect. The dirt track looks nice, not too deep, the facilities are very good and so is the organization, well done to Saudi Arabia."

First Classs (Al Mneefah) came on the track at 8.15am. "My horses arrived yesterday from Qatar," trainer Alban de Mieulle said. "It was a long trip for them as we were delayed at the border, but it's OK, they're fine this morning. I think First Classs improved when he won the Qatar Derby, he beat a nice horse in Abbes. There are some good horses in this race to beat, but I think he has a good chance."

Good Des Vialettes (Al Mneefah)

Shabah (Al Mneefah)

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