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2024 Invest Saudi International Jockeys Challenge Night

horse racing
Maryline Eon is presented the trophy after winning the Invest Saudi International Jockeys Challenge
Date: 02/23/2024

On the evening before the fifth running of the $20 million Saudi Cup, was the third edition of the $1.6 million Invest Saudi International Jockeys Challenge. 14 riders from around the world (7 males and 7 females) were invited to compete, and were randomly assigned mounts in 4 races on the card, all run under handicap weights with $400,000 purses for older horses except the second leg which was restricted to 3-year-olds. Points were awarded based on the jockey's placing in each race, using a 15-10-7-4-2 system, with the leader after the 4 races declared the winner of the trophy and $100,000. Conditions were ideal during the races, with clear skies, temperatures in the mid 70's, the main track fast and the turf course good-to-firm.

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Jockey Maryline Eon won the second race of the competition aboard Mo Aela.
French jockey Maryline Eon was riding in Saudi Arabia for the first time. She rode Mo Aela to victory in the second leg of the series, a 1400 meter (7 furlong) dirt sprint for 3-year-olds, She was runner-up in the first race, a 1600 meter (1 mile) event, to finish with 25 points, giving her an almost insurmountable lead on the competition, but held on despite scoring no points for the last 2 races. As well as the prize-money she accumulated per race - each leg was worth US $400,000 - Eon takes home $100,000 as series champion. She said, "I didn't know at first I'd won, I thought I would need to get points in the last race. I'm very proud. I've been riding for 15 years and to win a race against all these amazing jockeys here is very rewarding. I'm living the dream. To win a race on The Saudi Cup weekend in front of this crowd that is so welcoming is just amazing."
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Luis Saez won the fourth leg of the challenge aboard Mostawly.

In the third leg, U.S. representative Luis Saez rode Pagan to victory in a 1200 meter (6 furlong) dirt sprint by a length over Brazil's Victoria Mota aboard Monaasib with Australian Damien Oliver third aboard Aasser. Saez said, "I'm truly grateful to be back. I love riding around here, I love the place and I love the people. "It was super exciting, last year was a great day and today I wanted to enjoy it. I got a winner and was back in the game." He tied for third in the contest with 15 points but loses the "tiebreaker" with Camilo Ospina who finished ahead of him in all but the third race. Saez rides Defunded in the Saudi Cup.
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Maryline Eon, Camilo Ospina, and Victoria Mota pose with their trophies.

The jockeys who participated in the challenge along with their final points score: Maryline Eon (25), Camilo Ospina (17), Victoria Mota (17), Luis Saez (15), Rachel Venniker (15), Ryusi Sakai (12), Saffie Osborne (11), Damien Oliver (11), Adel Alfouraidi (G1), Alysia Collet (10), Ryan Moore (9), Lisa Alpress (0), Katie Davis (0), Maxime Guyon (0).


horse racing
Adel Alfouradii wins the Lucid Tuwaiq Cup aboard Badr

Immediately after the final race of the jockey competition, a field of 18 older horses went the Saudi Cup trip of 1800 meters (1 1/8 miles) around one turn of the main track in the $500,000 Lucid Tuwaiq Cup. Commissioner King set the pace of 24.76, 47.38, and 1:11.64 under Flavien Prat while stalked by Final Destination. In the stretch, Commisioner King tired as Badr, midpack early under Adel Alfouradi, easily took over at the 1/8 pole and drew off to win by 5 lengths over Final Destination in 1:50.49. It was another head back to Alwazir third.

Official chart

Winning trainer Adbah Alathaab said, "He has improved a lot through the season. I think he will continue to improve again. I think he could be a Saudi Cup horse this time next year." Winning jockey Adel Alfouraidi said, "The trainer has done a great job with this horse. He was very good last time winning the Gulf Cup and he was even better today. He has the potential to reach the very top."


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Ronan Thomas wins the Ministry of Culture Al Mneefah Cup aboard Tilal Al Khalediah

Closing out the 8 race card Friday night was the $1.5 million Ministry of Culture Al Mneefah Cup (G1) for purebred Arabians at 2100 meters (1 5/16 miles) on the turf. Turki Al Khalediah II set the pace while pressed by Soko and stalked by Tilal Al Khalediah. Turning for home the front two tired as Tilal Al Khalediah easily swept to the lead under Adel Alfouraidi and easily held off late-running Moshriff to win by 3 1/4 lengths in 2:21.97. It was another 2 lengths back to Mutbahy Athbah third.

Official chart

horse racinghorse racing Left: Tilal Al Khalediah in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Naser Mutlaq said, "I made sure that he only ran in the big races and took care of him. He always wins in the dirt races but the turf was a good test and he shows great improvement. It's very important for the race to be a Group 1. I have got heroes in my stable and I want to turn them into champions."

Right: The trophy presentation. Tilal Al Khalediah is the first horse to win in consecutive Saudi Cup meetings, after winning last year's Obaiyah Arabian Classic (G1) on the dirt, successfully switching to turf here.


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Istita'aeh winning the Mosef First Fillies Mile
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Kicking off the Saudi Cup weekend was the $250,000 Mosef First Fillies Mile for 3-year-old fillies going 1600 meters (1 mile) on the main track. Jockey Ricardo Ferreira sent Snafiya to the rail and to the lead exiting the chute and was pressed by Lilly Nation and stalked by Gaasyah through fractions of 23.72, 45.96, and 1:12.14. Turning for home the pacesetters tired as Istita'aeh, midpack early under Camilo Espina, took over and powered away to an impressive 10 length win over late-running Tassfahill in 1:38.49. It was another neck back to Larin third.

Official chart


horse racing
Aezm Alriyadh winning of the Saudia Sarawat Cup
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Between the second and third legs of the Jockey Challenge was the $250,000 Saudia Sarawat Cup for three-year-olds sprinting 1200 meters (6 furlongs) on the main track. Jockey Abdullah Alfairouz sent Hour Alenaya to the lead and set fractions of 23.60 and 47.71 while pressed by Alfraim and stalked by Motawassi. In the stretch Motawassi gained the lead from the tiring Hour Alenaya and looked homefree but Aezm Alriyadh, confidently ridden by Tariq Almansour, rallied down the center of the track to win by 1/4 length over Motawassi in 1:12.69. It was another 4 lengths back to Ghashaamah third.

Official chart

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