The inaugural Saudi Cup Day is able to present fields that far exceeded my expectations. Horseracing is becoming more and more global and days like this is accelerating the trend.
We will start with 1 5/16 miles on the turf (also known as 10 1/2 furlongs aka 2100 meter). Japanese star 9 Deirdre (Harbinger) will bring true Group One class to the table and should easily beat 4 Mount Everest (Galileo) based on form. The outsider is 7 Royal Youmzain (Youmzain) that goes well fresh and has the class to provide a minor upset.
The next is the Sprint Cup over 6 1/2 furlongs (1300 meter) on turf. 3 Glorious Journey (Dubawi) was impressive at Meydan in his latest start. He is not very reliable and is drawn to lose from stall 12. 12 Suedois (Le Havre) is drawn even wider and the distance should be too sharp for him. The filly 14 Royal Intervention (Exceed And Excel) will start from post five but probably won’t be much value since the Racing Post has made her their fancy. 9 Mubtasim (Arcano) was a good third after a long break and should improve. Appelby is winning everything at the moment and this could be his race. He will be my win bet with a saver of interesting runner 4 Graignes (Zoffany) with the suspicion that the ground will improve him.
The third race is a fantastic race for the stayers over 1m 7f (3000 meter). It is a handicap and 1 Cross Counter (Teofilio) should be the one to beat. 2 Dee Ex Bee (Farhh) should of course be of interest since he has finished closer to Stradivarius. I have my doubts over the trainer (very inconsistent) and will take Dee Ex Bee on and instead opt for the classy stayer 4 Called To The Bar (Henrythenavigator). I know the trainer thinks extremly highly of this one and being able to get a few pounds from the top rated horses makes Called To The Bar a very good betting proposition.
The Fourth and Fifth race are pour les pur-sang arabique et je ne sais rien de le form.
The Saudi Derby looks very open. People watching UAE Oaks know that 11 Down On The Bayou (Super Saver) was super impressive there and should be hard to beat. The shorter distance and the fast turnaround might be working against her and the draw won’t help. She is closely matched with 12 Final Song (Dark Angel) who was beaten by 1 Bella Fever (Texas Fever) latest. Bella Fever doesn’t know how to lose and should be on the shortlist. The boys could prove to be better than the girls in this and preference is for 3 Billy Bats (City Zip) who should handle the dirt as good as he is handling the turf. 10 Rowdy Yates (Morning Line) looks overrated but would be of interest at a price. 5 Full Flat (Speightstown) could bring home the bacon for Japan.
Saudia Sprint Cup over 6 furlongs (1200 meter) is a very good sprint race. 3 Gladiator King (Curlin) has been outstanding at Meydan and will bring top form to this race. He holds 2 Drafted (Field Commission) easily on form but 4 Imperial Hint (imperialism) is one of the best Americans at this distance. The draw for Imperial Hint is a negative and Japanese raider 7 Matera Sky (Speightstown) has beaten Imperial Hint before. 10 New York Central (Tapit) is the outsider. Smart US form and Irad Ortiz Jr is in the irons.
The Saudi Cup
10 million dollars for the winner will make sure that this race is one of the greatest. Every trick in the book will be used to make the runners have a peak performance. 1m 1 furlong (1800 meter) is a perfect distance for both the milers and the american stayers. 7 Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) is splendid but with quirks and the one to take on at short odds. How will he even handle the French stalls? 8 McKinzie (Street Sense) is far mor reliable, but the draw is not a positive and he might find some trouble during the race. Drawn in stall 13 2 Cappezzano (Bernardini) has no choice but to go from it from the start. This might put up a strong pace as 11 North America (Dubawi) is a confirmed front runner and will try to take the race wire to wire from stall 4.
If the pace is too tough 14 Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) will pass many runners in the home straight. This scenario could be even better for 12 Tacitus (Tapit) who is well drawn and should be able to preserve his speed for the two last furlongs. He can finally win a good race and should be available at a price. The fact that I haven’t even mentioned 1 Benbatl (Dubawi) says everything about this race. He has a very good jockey, a perfect draw and top form. He has shown that he handles the dirt as well as the turf and if he is available at the odds that Racing Post projects he is a must bet.