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2022 Saudi Cup Workouts

Last year's winner Mishriff on the track Wednesday morning with the grandstand in the background.
Date: 2/23/2022

On Wednesday 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 mid February, with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 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 1 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 36 horses that were out Wednesday morning. Please click the smaller photos to see a larger version.

Art Collector (Saudi Cup) breezed 3f under assistant trainer Neil Poznansky. Poznansky said, "I just wanted to see how he was getting hold of the surface, how he felt doing it and how his energy was doing it: everything was good. He's adapted well to the track, he's been aggressive. When we first got him he wasn't quite as aggressive, but as time has gone on he's gotten stronger and stronger, he loves to train. He's not a big horse but he's very well proportioned and gets over the ground well. He's very efficient, he's got a big stride for a little horse. He's undefeated over 1 1/8. I'll talk to Bill (Mott) about what we will do tomorrow. It will probably be an easy day, we'll jog. We'll gallop into it from there."

Magny Cours (Saudi Cup) galloped on the main track. Assistant trainer Richard Lambert said, "He did the same as yesterday, maybe a touch quicker, but that was all. He just hacked and then cantered over 1300m (6.5f). I really liked what I saw. He doesn't seem to be worried about the surface and was moving freely."

Mishriff (Saudi Cup) galloped under exercise rider Ben de Paiva in company with stablemate Harrovian. Co-trainer Thady Gosden said, "The first day here they were both having a look at things, even though Mishriff has been here twice before. But they are both really settled now and the weather is perfect for them, warm with a cool breeze. They are both very relaxed and have settled in well. Mishriff went for a trot on the training track yesterday but we were released from quarantine this morning so he just went out for a nice easy canter around the dirt track. David [Egan] will ride him later in the week. He obviously knows him very well but it's always good for him to get the feel of him before the race."

Sealiway (Saudi Cup) continues to adapt to the warmer climate in Saudi Arabia and his trainer Francis-Henri Graffard was happy with his work on Wednesday morning. "He cantered over a longer stretch this morning than yesterday," the trainer said. "It was just a routine workout as all the prep had been done before in France. He seems to have settled in nicely."

T O Keynes (Saudi Cup) galloped under jockey Kohei Matsuyama. Trainer Daisuke Takayanagi said, "As he has done most of the serious workouts back home, my focus will be how I should keep that good condition to the raceday. The surface is very cushioned and well organised, but my only concern is that when the other horses stepped on the surface, that it would be stamped down and made harder, so I wondered how it would be on the raceday. Any draw besides too wide or too far inside will be fine for us, and hopefully they let us draw in last. The track has great cushion, and my horse handled it very well. Thanks to the stable staff who have done a great job, he keeps good form. Hopeful he will start from the gate quickly."

Marche Lorraine (Saudi Cup) worked 1/2 a mile. Trainer Yoshito Yahagi said, "Even though I thought it was a bit heavier track, she moved nicely on the surface. The only concern was that she did not change her leads, so the rider used a whip, but as for the heart rate, her time of the gallop should be satisfactory. She has lost a bit weight after the long travel, but she is now eating up well. I do believe she will be a fit horse on Saturday."
Sonnyboyliston (Red Sea Turf Handicap) did a steady canter for just over a circuit of the dirt track. "He didn't do much this morning again but Ben [Coen, jockey] will sit on him tomorrow on the grass," trainer Johnny Murtagh said. "He has strengthened up over the winter and it's good to be there to start his year."
Princess Zoe (Red Sea Turf Handicap) galloped under exercise rider Joey Sheridan. Trainer Tony Mullins said, "I was surprised with how buzzy she was this morning to be honest, it wouldn’t be like her as she has done a lot of travelling but she did a nice canter and was fine afterwards. She was fine and relaxed afterwards though and she ate up and drank on the plane on the way over and has generally settled in well so I’m happy with her. She won’t work again but she will have a canter on the grass tomorrow morning. I went for a walk around this morning and it is certainly a fine racecourse and the draw doesn’t overly concern me now having seen the track."
Baron Samedi (Red Sea Turf Handicap) cantered under exercise rider Shay Barry. Trainer Joseph O'Brien said, "Baron Samedi travelled over good and Shay knows the horse well and is very happy which is the main thing. He is a solid horse and is used to travelling so took it in his stride. This morning he just had a light stretch of the legs and it will be more of the same until Saturday."
Mirinaque (Red Sea Turf Handicap) always wears a hood, not only when he races, but also for morning trackwork. Trainer Maria Cristina Munoz watched him canter over 7f and said: "The horse is in perfect shape and his preparation has gone really well. He spent 45 days in Dubai and we are delighted to be here now. He trotted once round to warm up this morning and then did a steady canter."
Nayef Road (Red Sea Turf Handicap) galloped on the main track. Charlie Johnston, who trains the Galileo 6-year-old alongside his father Mark, said: "He has travelled and settled in very well and has eaten up, so we are happy with him so far.
Stay Foolish (Red Sea Turf Handicap) galloped 1/2 mile on the dirt track. "He was very flexible and moved beautifully. He is in really good shape both physically and mentally and I am really happy with him," jockey Christophe Lemaire said.

Alnaader (Saudi Derby) is the local hope in this event. He is undefeated in 4 starts, including the King Abdullah Cup on January 14, the main local prep for the Saudi Derby.

The Wizard of Eye (Saudi Derby) galloped under jockey John Egan. Trainer Stan Moore said, "John said he was very relaxed and handled the surface well. He is a tough horse. He had no problem with the travelling back and forth to France last year, getting held up at customs and the like didn't bother him at and he is taking this trip in his stride, too, it's no bother to him. He looks very happy."

Oscula (Saudi Derby) galloped on Wednesday. "She's training well," trainer George Boughey said. "I am pleased with her draw in five. She will jump out of the gates in the morning and then it is all systems go for Saturday. We are delighted to have Luis Saez riding. He has won The Saudi Cup in the past and he did a great for us in the Breeders' Cup last November when Cachet ran so well in the Juvenile Fillies."

Copano Kicking (Riyadh Dirt Sprint) the defending champion worked on the dirt track. "He keeps his good form and is very healthy even after the long flight from Japan," work rider Yoshiki Shibata said. "Today, he cantered for 1000m on the track. He is easily overexcited, but we decided to bring him over to the dirt track to see how he would be. We are planning to gallop tomorrow."

Dancing Prince (Riyadh Dirt Sprint) trotted for half a lap and then hacked for another half lap before picking up some pace to canter on the dirt track. "As there were fewer horses working on the track, he was more relaxed than the first time he was out there. He felt very good," assistant trainer Takuhito Sawae said.

Good Effort (Riyadh Dirt Sprint) was 4th in the Vosburgh (G2) at Belmont last October before winning the Betway Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield in November. He comes here off a 3rd place finish in the Betway Kachy Stakes also at Lingfield.

Chain of Love (Riyadh Dirt Sprint) worked 2f before hacking for a lap on the dirt track. "He had no issue with the travel from Japan. So far, he has eaten very well, relaxed and is in a good mood," assistant trainer Yoshimitsu Nakata said. "I am happy with how relaxed he is. Jockey Ryusei Sakai will gallop him tomorrow."

Happy Power (1351 Turf Sprint) galloped under exercise rider Maddy O'Meara. O'Meara said, "I'm really happy with him. He looks a million dollars." Anna-Lisa Balding, wife and assistant to trainer Andrew arrives Thursday.

Rohaan (1351 Turf Sprint) galloped on Wednesday morning. "He looked fine in his exercise this morning," trainer David Evans said. "He will a spin on the main track tomorrow morning. It is good to have Ryan Moore booked, he knows him well and has won on him before."

Thunder Moon (1351 Turf Sprint) galloped in company with stablemate Baron Samedi under exercise rider Sean Corby. Trainer Joseph O'Brien said, "Sean is very happy with how Thunder Moon travelled over and he is in good form. We will just see the draw later tonight and keep our fingers crossed it is kind to us with both horses. The draw is probably more important to Thunder Moon than Baron Samedi because of the type of race and their running styles. They'll do something similar on the track in the morning - a light canter."

Grocer Jack (Neom Turf Cup) completed a steady lap of the dirt track. Trainer William Haggas reports that the horse has been "fine" and he will arrive at the venue on Thursday to oversee preparations.

Harrovian (Neom Turf Cup) galloped in company with stablemate Mishriff. Co-trainer Thady Gosden said, "Harrovian just had a trot on the training track yesterday but we were released from quarantine this morning so he went out for a nice easy canter around the dirt track. Both horses are very relaxed and have settled in well. Harrovian will possibly exercise on the turf track tomorrow. I am going to have a walk on it later and see how it feels and then will decide whether we should stick to the dirt or have a spin on the turf."

Pyledriver (Neom Turf Cup) galloped with jockey Martin Dwyer on hand to observe. "Just watching him there on the track this morning, he looks great," Dwyer said. "I'm really looking forward to the ride." 

Solid Stone (Neom Turf Cup) galloped on the main track. Assistant trainer Steve Eastwood said, "I'm very happy with him. He's settled in great. He just had an easy exercise this morning over 1000m (5f) on the dirt track and he will be going on the turf track tomorrow. So far, so good."

Ebaiyra (Neom Turf Cup) galloped on the main track and schooled in the paddock in company with stablemate Sealiway. Trainer Francis-Henri Graffard said, "She continues to be in good form, which is great. She was relaxed this morning and just did a canter on the dirt track before going for a walk about the parade ring."

RB Rich Lyke Me (Obaiya Arabian Classic) had a hack canter on the dirt track at 8am. "He arrived from Dubai yesterday along with Antares Del Ma, who goes in the Al Mneefah Cup on the turf track on Friday," trainer Fawzi Nass said. "We had them out this morning just to get them moving, but I think that RB Rich Lyke Me will take to the dirt here well. They are very different to the Bahraini Arabians I have trained. They arrived with me around four months ago and are part of the group of 18 horses that I have in Dubai, based at Al Quoz."

Qaader (International Handicap) comes here off a 3rd place finish in the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup on January 27.

Master Bloom (International Handicap) galloped under jockey Elione Chaves. Trainer Cathrine Erichsen said,"We were very disappointed with his last run but he has been sick. His white blood cell count was way too high but he has had some treatment for that. It was strange as we didn't notice anything wrong, he wasn't coughing or anything, but he ran extremely badly in that race and I was embarrassed because I expected him to run much better. This race in Saudi Arabia has been our goal all along, we've been aiming for this, and his blood count is now much better. He's a very tough horse and we are going to give it a good go. He is a horse who tends to look around quite a lot at his surroundings so we will try to take him on the turf track tomorrow to get him used to that."

Desert Lion (International Handicap) comes here off 2nd place finishes in the Aluminium Bahrain Cup and the HRH Prince Salmn Bin Haman Bin Isa Al Khalifa Cup, both at Sakhir, Qatar.

Run to the Hills (International Handicap) finished 2nd last out in the Alexander the Great Cup at Markopoulo Park in Greece.

Motakay'yef (Jockey Club Handicap) finished 2nd as the favorite in last year's running.

Antares Del Ma (Al Mneefah)

Fettah du Loup (Al Mneefah)

Dergham Athbah (Al Mneefah)

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