Egan returns to scene of Saudi Cup Triumph

Dettori, Moore and Barzalona among top international riders to contest Saudi Cup Qualifier

David Egan after winning The Saudi Cup in 2021 - Credit: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

Last year’s Saudi Cup-winning jockey David Egan is set to make a return to Saudi Arabia to ride in the domestic Group 1 Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques Cup, a qualifying race for the $20 million Saudi Cup, at King Abdulaziz Racecourse on Thursday.

Egan, who was last seen at King Abdulaziz when partnering Mishriff to success in The Saudi Cup, rides Qaader, a three-time winner when trained by Mark Johnston in the UK, who now makes his debut for Bahraini trainer Fawzi Nass.

Other top international riders jetting in for the contest are Ryan Moore and Mickael Barzalona, while Frankie Dettori will ride in the earlier running of the domestic Group 1 contest, for locally-bred horses.

Moore, who seeks his first win in Saudi Arabia after coming up short in 13 rides so far, will partner the ex-Coolmore-owned Horoscope, a Listed winner and Group 2 Boomerang Mile third when trained in Ireland.

International star of the saddle, Mickael Barzalona, has been booked for another former Aidan O’Brien-trained runner, Khartoum, a son of Kentucky Derby second, Pioneerof The Nile.

Barzalona has numerous Saudi Arabian Group 1 wins to his name, the last coming in 2017, when he remarkably rode three in the space of six rides.

One rider who is already fully acclimatised to conditions in Riyadh is Silvestre de Sousa. The Brazilian has spent the last three weeks in Saudi and already has two domestic Group race wins to his name, both coming in the colours of top owner Prince Faisal Bin Khaled Bin Abdulaziz.

The former UK Champion Jockey is set to ride Saiydabad, a Group 3 winner when trained in France by Jean-Claude Rouget, who was bought for €575,000 from the Arqana Arc Sale in October and now makes his debut in Saudi.

Two other interesting debutants are Kaspar, a Group 2 winner in Germany for trainer Markus Klug, and Zuran Zuran, a son of Remote, who has won six of his seven starts in Argentina, including the Group 1 Gran Premio Dardo Rocha at La Plata Racecourse in November.

Dettori is set to make his second trip to Saudi in the space of a month, after finishing second on Recovery Run in the Prince Khalid Bin Abdullah Cup, a race run in memory of the great owner-breeder.

The Italian will take the ride on last time out domestic Group 1 winner Almobeer in the first edition of The Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques Cup, which is restricted to locally-bred horses.

Egan, Moore, Barzalona and De Sousa all have additional rides across the $1 million nine-race card.

STC International Jockeys' Challenge

Saudi Cup Day
King Abdulaziz Racetrack, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

About The Saudi Cup
Organised by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia and run at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, The Saudi Cup is a two-day festival of international racing headlined by the USD$20m Saudi Cup – the world’s most valuable race.

Established in 2020 with the third renewal set to be run on Saturday February 26, 2022, The Saudi Cup day card carries a total prize purse of $30.5m and features dirt and turf races for the highest calibre of racehorses in the world.

A full card of racing on the preceding Friday includes an International Jockeys Challenge which sees seven female and seven male jockeys compete as individuals as well as the $500,000 Saudi International Handicap for horses trained in IFHA-registered Part II and III racing countries.

The Saudi Cup is charged with raising awareness of horse racing in the country, encouraging participation among men and women. It also aims to promote Saudi Arabia at international level, acting as a marker for the Kingdom’s transformational journey, encouraging tourism and investment.

Source: The Saudi Cup/Media

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