Swiss Skydiver, Charlatan and Knicks Go are three names you’d anticipate finding on this planet’s richest race – the $20 million Saudi Cup. And people three American stars headline a prolonged nominee record for the Feb. 20 Saudi Cup.
The 1 1/8-mile Saudi Cup drew 109 nominees from 9 international locations. It highlights a two-day, eight-race card at King Abdulaziz Racecourse exterior Riyadh providing $30.5 million in purses. All instructed, 1,036 horses have been nominated to the eight races.
However amid all that worldwide expertise, the eyes gravitate towards the aforementioned trio of Preakness Stakes champion Swiss Skydiver, Malibu Stakes winner Charlatan and Breeders’ Cup Filth Mile winner Knicks Go.
Ought to she make the 14-horse subject, Swiss Skydiver finds herself within the position of final 12 months’s Saudi Cup marvel distaff – Midnight Bisou. The now-retired Midnight Bisou ran maybe her finest race within the Saudi Cup, ending second to Most Safety.
Cup Chalk? Look No Additional than Charlatan and Knicks Go
As for Charlatan and Knicks Go, they determine to share favourite standing, together with targets on their backs from lots of their American equine brethren. These brethren embrace final 12 months’s fifth-place finisher, Tacitus, two-time Grade 1 winner Code of Honor, Cigar Mile winner True Timber and a number of stakes winner Sleepy Eyes Todd.
Different American notable nominees embrace Storm the Court docket, Tax, Max Participant, Jesus’ Workforce, Independence Corridor, Math Wizard and Gronkowski, who completed 10th final 12 months. The runner-up within the 2018 Belmont, Gronkowski now runs within the Center East.
Don’t anticipate finding the entire above within the 14-horse subject. The winner of the Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup Invitational will get an automated spot. However the title of the race is the Saudi Cup, not the USA Cup. A world taste comes baked into this subject.
The Saudi Cup Brings Out European Filth Standouts
That begins with three John Gosden nominees from Nice Britain led by Mishriff, the runner up within the 2020 Saudi Derby on final 12 months’s undercard and the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Membership winner. Gosden additionally nominated International Big and Dubai Warrior. Together with that trio, there’s Irish-bred, British-trained a number of Group 1 winner Addeybb.
Japan represents with that nation’s Filth Horse of the Yr, Chuwa Wizard, who earned an automated berth by successful final month’s Group 1 Champions Cup. That was certainly one of 4 Saudi Cup qualifying races. Different Japanese nominees embrace 2020 Filth Derby winner Danon Pharoah and Omega Fragrance, who gained the Group 1 Tokyo Daishoten.
Other than Gronkowski, the Center East contenders embrace American-bred New York Central, who gained the Filth Dash in superb trend on final 12 months’s Saudi Cup undercard. In addition they embrace Alzahzaah, who brings a four-race successful streak into the Saudi Cup. That features the Group 1 Crown Prince Cup.
Tune Into Channel Maker Going Worldwide
Notable nominees on a number of the seven Saudi Cup undercard races embrace a number of Grade 1 winner Channel Maker, who coach Invoice Mott nominated for the $2.5 million Lengthy Distance Turf Handicap and the $1 million Center Distance Turf Cup. Storm the Court docket was additionally nominated for the Center Distance Turf.
Jackie’s Warrior and Scorching Rod Charlie spotlight the $1.5 million Saudi Derby American contingent. This presents a calculated threat for trainers Steve Asmussen (Jackie’s Warrior) and Doug O’Neill (Scorching Rod Charlie).
On one hand, there’s touring midway world wide and taking a shot at a $900,000 first-prize verify. On the opposite, there’s balancing that with what touring midway world wide may take out of their expenses heading into the center of Kentucky Derby prep season.
Jackie’s Warrior at present sits at 45/1 on Circa Sports activities Kentucky Derby Futures Board and 40/1 at William Hill Nevada. Scorching Rod Charlie is 70/1 at Circa, 50/1 at William Hill.
Cloud of Most Safety’s Unpaid Purse Lingers
“We’re completely thrilled with the ultimate entry record for this 12 months’s Saudi Cup assembly, particularly given the challenges everybody has been confronted with over the previous 12 months,” stated Tom Ryan, director of technique and worldwide racing for the Jockey Membership of Saudi Arabia. “Contemplating that is solely the second 12 months of a brand new worldwide racing occasion, each the standard and depth of entries has grown considerably and there some actually robust momentum behind the assembly. Now we have seen marked enhancements throughout the board, however most satisfying to us is the help that our turf races and the Saudi Derby have acquired.”
This 12 months’s Saudi Cup proceeds whereas final 12 months’s $10 million first-place prize stays in limbo. Saudi racing officers withheld that hefty chunk of the purse pending an investigation into the alleged doping scandal surrounding Most Safety’s then-trainer, Jason Servis.