A rich undercard in store at Saudi Cup
Riyadh - There are seven other races with the highlight being the Longines Turf Handicap to be run over a mile and seven furlongs.
The $20 million worth Saudi Cup aside, the inaugural edition, which will run at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack, sees an undercard oozing with abundant quality.
There are seven other races with the highlight being the Longines Turf Handicap to be run over a mile and seven furlongs.
It is again filled with some strong contenders and headlining the list is Godolphin's Cross Counter. The five-year-old son of Teofilo, won the prestigious Melbourne Cup in 2018 and then went on to clinch the Dubai Gold Cup at the Dubai World Cup last year.
And this stayers affair could yet again witness another duel on the turf between Cross Counter and Prince of Arran.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter and Prince of Arran, saddled by Charlie Fellowes, had gone toe to toe at the Melbourne Cup, with the former emerging triumphant.
And Englishman Appleby reported that Cross Counter was good to go in this inaugural race.
"He's in great order," said Appleby.
"Obviously, his last run was there in the Melbourne Cup, where we felt he put up a good performance with a bit of traffic problems, so it was a good, solid run. He's had a nice break since then and thrived as he always does in Dubai," he added.
Appleby said that there has been no stone left unturned in terms of preparing him.
"His preparation has been faultless. If he turns up with his A-game, he's surely one of those horses who's going to be bang-there. It's exciting to be part of it for ourselves, Godolphin and the UAE team and I'm looking forward to it," Appleby said..
Cross Counter, who had a nice gallop on Thursday, will be in the hands of jockey William Buick and break from close to the rails from stall one.
Another UAE contender is Dee Ex Bee, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Saddled by Emirati Salem bin Ghadayer, Dee Ex Bee was a runner-up at the Investec Derby two years ago. Formerly trained by Mark Johnston, Dee Ex Bee wintered well under bin Ghadayer, and had a creditable UAE debut, finishing fifth in the Meydan Cup in January.
""He has a lot of speed and will have no problem going to the front, but he also can track another horse just fine. We give him the one race at Sheikh Hamdan's request and I must thank him so much for that, because the horse has come back from that race and we have seen a lot of improvement, day by day," bin Ghadayer said.
THE UNDERCARD (UAE TIME):
The Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Cup, 2100m, Turf. 5 p.m
The stc 1351 Cup, 1351m, Turf, 5.35 p.m
The Longines Turf Handicap, 3000m, Turf, 6.10 p.m
The Obaiya Arabian Classic, (Purebred Arabians), 2000m, Dirt, 6.45 p.m
The Jockey Club Local Handicap, 1800m, Dirt, 7.30 p.m
The Samba Saudi Derby, 1600m, Dirt, 8.10 p.m
The Saudia Sprint, 1200m, Dirt, 8.50 p.m