Saudi Cup field swells to 14; Shancelot out of Saudia Sprint?

February 13, 2020 01:44pm
The cast of five American contenders pointing to the $20 million Saudi Cup didn't change with Thursday's update of the prospective fields. But looking ahead to the Feb. 29 card at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, a top U.S. horse appears out of the undercard.

Initially listed for the $1.5 million Saudia Sprint, Shancelot, a newly turned 4-year-old sprinter, is off the list. Attempts to reach trainer Jorge Navarro were unsuccessful Thursday morning. Shancelot, a flashy winner of the Amsterdam (G2) last summer, posted his most-recent work Feb. 5 at Gulfstream Park West and was said to be using the Saudia Sprint as the beginning of a two-race overseas trip, with the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) following on March 28.

Grade 1 winner Imperial Hint remains the headliner for the Saudia Sprint, while U.S.-based Engage and Captain Scotty are still on the list. Also of local interest, the graded winner New York Central was sold last November at Keeneland to Saudi Arabian interests for this event.

As for the Saudi Cup itself, Maximum Security, McKinzie, Midnight Bisou, Mucho Gusto and Tacitus have held pat in preparations for the world's richest horse race, which will run around one turn at 1 1/8 miles. Meanwhile, the international cast surrounding them grew.


A full field of 14 looks to be assembled now with additions including Capezzano, due to end his layoff Thursday in Meydan's Firebreak (G3) and wheel back two weeks later; Great Scot, a former European campaigner purchased last fall by Saudi interests; and North America, who failed as the Dubai World Cup (G1) favorite last year but is an otherwise classy pace factor in this spot.

Phil Smith, former handicapper for the British Horseracing Authority, assigned ratings to nominated horses to determine a preference order for the Saudi Cup, which also accepted a local runner out of two preps run last Saturday at King Abdulaziz Racetrack. Mjjack won The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup for imported horses to punch a ticket to the Saudi Cup.
Tom Ryan, director of strategy for the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, told Horse Racing Nation last week that the Saudi Cup is expected to air on Fox Sports 1, with the undercard on Fox Sports 2 and TVG. Arrangements are being made with leading advanced deposit wagering services to open betting on the races in the U.S. and Canada.

First post time on the all-stakes card will be 8 a.m. ET, with the Saudi Cup scheduled for 12:40 p.m. ET. Other events including American runners are the $1 million Neom Turf Cup (Mo Forza); $1 million 1351 Turf Sprint (Ghoul, Legends of War); and 
$800,000 Saudi Derby (Billy Batts, Rowdy Yates).

A Tuesday flight is scheduled to escort American runners to Saudi Arabia.

2020 Saudi Cup

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.
RankSilksHorse / SireRatingTrainer / JockeyLast StartStatus
 Maximum Security
New Year's Day
8.59
J. Servis
1st, 2019 Cigar Mile (G1) 
Probable
 Midnight Bisou
Midnight Lute
8.37
S. Asmussen
2nd, 2019 Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) 
Probable
 Tacitus
Tapit
8.32
W. Mott
3rd, 2019 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) 
Probable
 McKinzie
Street Sense
8.19
B. Baffert
2nd, 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) 
Probable
 Mucho Gusto
Mucho Macho Man
7.72
B. Baffert
1st, 2020 Pegasus World Cup (G1) 
Probable
 Magic Wand
Galileo
7.55
A. O'Brien
2nd, 2020 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) 
Probable
 Gronkowski
Lonhro
7.36
S. Ghadayer
3rd, 2020 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2 (G2) 
Probable
242North America
Dubawi
7.34
S. Seemar
3rd, 2020 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 1 (G2) 
Probable
 Benbatl
Dubawi
7.14
S. Suroor
1st, 2020 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2 (G2) 
Probable
 Chrysoberyl
Gold Allure
6.87
H. Otonashi
1st, 2019 Champions Cup (G1) 
Probable
 Capezzano
Bernardini
6.48
S. Ghadayer
1st, 2020 Firebreak Stakes (G3) 
Probable
 Gold Dream
Gold Allure
6.07
O. Hirata
4th, 2019 Tokyo Daishoten (G1) 
Probable
 Great Scot
Requinto
4.84
T. Dascombe
1st, 2019 Superior Mile (G3) 
Probable
 Mjjack
Elzaam
4.79
S. Alharabi
3rd, 2018 Handicap 
Probable

 

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