Defending champion Mishriff (IRE) has drawn the outside stall gate 14 in defence of his title in the $20 million Gr1 Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Drawing widest in this field, with far more depth than the 2021 renewal, is not necessarily a bad thing.
DRF reports that the Saudi Cup, a Group 1 for the first time this year, is contested over 1800 meters around one turn. There’s a very long straightaway before the turn comes, giving Mishriff plenty of time to get into a decent position.
Trainer Thady Gosden said: “Obviously it’s not ideal, but last year he was drawn in 12 before winning so hopefully on Saturday he’ll jump well and get into a good place in the back stretch. It’s a very competitive looking renewal of the race. He comes here in good form and still shows plenty of enthusiasm.”
Here is what the rest of the connections thought after the barrier draw.
Aero Trem (BRZ) – (Gate 2) – Trainer Antonio Cintra: “This is the first time a South American horse has run in The Saudi Cup, and I am very happy because I am his trainer and I hope for a good run for him. Aero Trem won the Gran Premio Latinoamericano, the most important race in South America in which the best horses from Argentina, Peru, Brazil and Uruguay run – and he won it. He’s a fantastic horse and I hope he will run a good race.”
Art Collector (USA) – (9) – Neil Poznansky, assistant trainer for Bill Mott: “Gate nine is close to the middle and Art Collector has got some good speed. This was the plan all along, he’s been training excellent and that’s not a bad draw.”
Country Grammer – (USA) – (1) – Trainer Bob Baffert: “I would have preferred an outside draw, but it will be a great race and we’re happy to have a horse good enough to be there.”
Emblem Road (USA) – (5) – Stable representative Hisham Abdulwahed: “It is a very good opportunity for Emblem Road from his draw in five and it is great that we have got a chance in the race.”
Magny Cours (USA) – (7) – Richard Lambert, travelling head lad for trainer Andre Fabre: “It’s a perfect draw in the middle of the horses. He might have a little bit less speed than some of the horses around him – the two Americans and the Japanese horse – but it’s better to be there than on the outside.”
Making Miracles (GB) – (10) – Stable representative Hisham Abdulwahed: “We are happy with the draw for Making Miracles. He is a different horse this year and we are hoping that everything goes well. It is great to have a horse like him.”
Mandaloun (USA) – (6) – Trainer Brad Cox: “The draw in six I’m happy with. He tends to race forward, tracking the leaders, so provided he breaks well, and there is no reason why he won’t, then I expect he will be up with the pace. He’s doing well in his preparation and the draw is good, I’m pretty happy.”
Marche Lorraine (JPN) – (13) – Trainer Yoshito Yahagi: “I don’t care about the draw over the one-turn course. When she won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, she started from wide draw, so no problem.”
Midnight Bourbon (USA) – (3) – Steve Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi: “It’s a good draw for us as he has great tactical speed. The gate situation is a little bit different over here. It’s narrower and hence there is no room for a handler in there. So it’s a little bit different for the American horses. I think our horses are well schooled in the gate and we will school again on Friday. He has won on the lead before but I have no problem with him stalking as well. He’ll be in the race or tracking, right there. Joel [Rosario] has a lot of confidence in him. We’re really excited about him having had a few starts on him as well. We added the blinkers in his last race and they seemed to help him out a bit. Moving forward, we’re in good shape.”
Real World (IRE) – (4) – Trainer Saeed bin Suroor: “It’s the first time I chose a good draw. It’s great, I hope he can show his good turn of foot and I think he’ll get the distance well.”
Sealiway (FR) – (11) – Trainer Francis-Henri Graffard: “I don’t like extremes, either inside or outside, so this is not a bad draw. We have very good horses around us and after all, it’s [jockey] Ryan Moore who will need to figure out what to do.”
Secret Ambition (GB) – (12) – Trainer Bhupat Seemar: “I am a bit in the car park in this race and the sprint but we will just have to do our best and try to get lucky. The horse is doing extremely well and he’s a warrior.”
T O Keynes (JPN) – (8) – Trainer Daisuke Takayanagi: “Number eight itself is a good draw.”
The Sporting Post believes we will see the Saudi Cup action on our racing television screens. Watch this space for times and platforms!