Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman watches Mishriff win $20 million Saudi Cup - in pictures
Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor also taste success at King Abdulaziz racetrack
Mishriff won the $20million Saudi Cup in the silks of Saudi Prince Faisal at the King Abdulaziz racetrack in Riyadh on Saturday.
David Egan on board the John Gosden-trained runner overtook the pacesetting American raider Charlatan to the line. Great Scot rallied for third, edging fourth-place Knicks Go with Sleepy Eyes Todd in fifth.
Winner of the Saudi Derby in last year’s inaugural Saudi Cup, the four-year-old Make Believe colt stalked Charlatan and Knicks Go before running away the winner over the 1,800-metre trip with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in attendance.
Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor picked up a prize each with Space Blues and Gifts Of Gold respectively.
Space Blues under William Buick came from a long lay-off since August to clinch the $1million 1351 Turf Sprint.
Buick rode a perfect race on the five-year-old son of Dubawi, breaking from barrier two to settle in the second flank as Krispen and Urban Icon set the early pace.
The Godolphin rider kept an eye on the Allan Smith-trained defending champion Dark Power ridden by Frankie Dettori – galloping just ahead – before steering Space Blues to the outside to win by three quarter length.
“Absolutely delighted with that,” Appleby said of Space Blues. “We knew he was a class horse coming into the race and he had a lovely draw.
“I could see the ground [following rain] was a bit loose for him and our concern was that he might just spin a bit on it, but he’s come back on the bridle turning in like a class horse and put the race to bed at the right time.”
Buick added: “We had a great run through. He broke well and I didn’t want to be too close to the pace. The pace was perfect. It wasn’t too hot or too slow.
“I followed Frankie before the split in the straight. It was how I hoped the race would pan out. He was the best horse and I didn’t want to go for any heroics. You’d imagine this would set him for the Al Quoz [on Dubai World Cup night].”
Following the success of Space Blues, Godolphin’s day in Saudi Arabia got even better when Gifts Of Gold under Pat Cosgrave took the $2.5million Red Sea Turf Handicap over the 2,000m trip.
He got the better of Spanish Mission with fellow Godolphin raider Secret Advisor in third.
“This was the plan since January when racing started in Dubai,” Bin Suroor said of the winner.
“I thought he would be the perfect horse. He’s a big strong horse and he ran well. The pace of the race wasn’t that fast and that suited him and he finished the race off really well.
“Pat is good jockey and he has won big races for us in Australia, England and Germany. We’re happy. We will take him back to Dubai and maybe he will go for the Gold Cup (on Dubai World Cup night). I’m sure he will improve some more.”
Cosgrave, added: “That was great. Hopefully we’re not finished yet! He was 110 there in a handicap so you have to think he’s a horse for the Melbourne Cup maybe next year.
“He relaxes good and he has that turn of foot which is perfect for Melbourne.”
Updated: February 20, 2021 11:15 PM