Maximum Security Makes Historical Saudi Cup Win
This is the story of a horse whose name was tainted with a disqualification from the most important dirt race in America, The Kentucky Derby 2019. However, the connections were convinced Maximum Security was capable of winning any race on earth without having to resort to shenanigans. The son of New Year's Day proved them right, with a determined victory in the world’s richest race, the US$20 million Saudi Cup.
Breaking alertly from post seven under Luis Saez, the Jason Servis-trained charge was caught in a chess match throughout with Pegasus World Cup winner Mucho Gusto (USA) and Irad Ortiz Jr, stalking the speedy pair of Capezzano (USA) and North America (GB) in tandem before Mucho Gusto forged past those two and Maximum Security quickly followed.
Ortiz then went wide around the lone turn, forcing the eventual winner at least five-wide turning for home and then coming out even more at the top of the stretch. Saez acted quickly and shifted paths to inside the eventual fourth-place finisher, forging past and then holding off the late charge of runner-up and fellow American champion Midnight Bisou (USA), as well as globetrotting Group 1 winner Benbatl (GB). The final margin was three-quarters of a length, with two lengths separating the aforementioned top-class mare and Godolphin colour-bearer.
An excited Jason Servis said, "Really, that horse has got a lot of heart, he is some horse, he is amazing. It's got to be some vindication. He ran hard, I thought he was creased up in behind. He was really doing good. I am a bit superstitious and didn't want to over-talk him but the last three days, when he breezed the mile and one (1800m), he just ran and came off the track there was just a presence about him and I tried to stay calm, but I was really feeling good the last few days.”
While, Godolphin’s top conditioner, Saeed Bin Suroor said, "I’m proud of him (Benbatl). Maximum Security is a very good horse. Now we’ll take him back to Dubai and make a decision on the next race. Maybe he’d be better over 2000m, so we will think about the big race (The Dubai World Cup)."
The order of finish was completed by Mucho Gusto, Tacitus (USA), Gold Dream (JPN), Chrysoberyl (JPN), Mjjack (IRE), Magic Wand (IRE), Gronkowski (USA), McKinzie (USA), Great Scot (GB), North America and Capezzano.
US$800,000 Saudi Derby Cup
3YO Speightstown son Full Flat (USA) landed his first triumph overseas under-seasoned international Yutaka Take, for his Japanese connections.
The race was led by Saudi Arabian home-bred Rajee Allah (KSA), while Full Flat was sitting handily after jumping well from the gate. The winning pair started to make ground before the final turn and gained command in the top of the stretch before driving through impressively, and he showed a fine turn of foot to widen the margin to two and a quarter lengths.
US$1,500,000 Saudia Cup (Sprint)
Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz owned- New York Central (USA), went up a gear in the final strides to win the inaugural Saudia Sprint by a head, defeating 5YO Matera Sky, half brother to Full Flat, winner of the Saudi Derby.
The Ono Tsuyoshi owned 5YO son of Speightstown broke fastest of all in the field of 13 and had a lead of about five lengths as they turned for home while New York Central was near the back of the pack in the middle of the track mounting a furious rally in the final 400m for the one-length victory, scoring one for the host country on its biggest night of racing.
US$2,500,000 Turf Handicap
Call The Wind, a son of the legendary Frankel, recorded a two-and-a-half length success in the premier Turf Handicap under world-class French jockey Olivier Peslier
had to use all his experience to weave his way between horses on the Freddy Head-trained Call The Wind (GB) to win Saturday’s $2,500,000 Longines Turf Handicap at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack.
Trainer Freddy Head’s current stable star showed his versatility for varying ground conditions as he relished the new turf surface in Riyadh defeating British challenger Mekong (GB), for trainer Jamie Osborne, while the globetrotting Prince Of Arran (GB) ran another fine race for trainer Charlie Fellowes.
US$1,000,000 Turf Sprint
Bahrain-based Dark Power (IRE) owned by Al Adiyat Racing, displayed his prowess for the unique 1351m distance running down Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby-trained Mubtasim (IRE) under a beautifully-timed Frankie Dettori ride.
After the race, a jubilant Frankie Dettori said, “Sheikh Essa is a friend of mine. I’ve been going to Bahrain for the last five years and I took the ride a month ago. I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you, but this is an amazing feeling. To win a race like this for your mates is a double-whammy. What they’ve done in the space of two months (with this turf course) is remarkable.”
The Allan Smith-conditioned son of Dark Angel rewarded his trainer’s faith and stepped up in class with finesse under a tremendous closing ride. “Frankie gave him a super ride. We bought a sprinter, but he’s always done his best at the end of a race. I’ll take it!” he said.
US$1,900,000 Obaiya Cup (Arabian Classic)
The 2018 Dubai Kahayla Classic winner Tallaab Al Khalediah (KSA), despite making his first start after 10-months lifted the Obaiya Cup (Arabian Classic), now the richest event in the Purebred Arabian racing. left the gates to take the lead in the 2000m race and was never threatened. Hajres (TUN), trained in France, closed in on him in the final stages but had to settle for second place, three lengths behind. Mashhur Al Khalediah (FR) finished third.
Prince Fahad, representing owner Al Khalediah Stables said, “He doesn’t like to stay in the back. He always keeps going in the front. That is how he won in Dubai, that’s how he won everywhere. I think it is a historical day for horse racing in Saudi Arabia and a historical day in the racing world whether it is in Saudi Arabia or not. We hope for many more to come.”
Tallaab Al Khalediah is being aimed at the 2020 Dubai Kahayla Classic on the Dubai World Cup undercard next.