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$20 mn Saudi Cup: Saeed bin Suroor hoping for a big run from Real World

The son of Dark Angel warmed up for a shot at the Saudi prize, by taking the G2 Zabeel Mile in taking style

Eyes on the prize: Godolphin’s Real World. — Dubai Racing Club
Eyes on the prize: Godolphin’s Real World. — Dubai Racing Club

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 12:46 AM

Two years ago he came close to winning the $20million Saudi Cup when Benbatl finished a competitive third before he was subsequently promoted to second.

Now, the all-conquering Godolphin handler is back for another shot at the world’s richest horse race on Saturday with Real World, a five-year-old galloper who reverts to dirt after stringing together five impressive wins on the turf.

The son of Dark Angel warmed up for a shot at the Saudi prize, by taking the G2 Zabeel Mile in taking style.

Real World, who will be ridden by long-time bin Suroor associate and multiple champion jockey Frankie Dettori, will be joined by fellow Godolphin-owned Magny Cours in the 2,000 metre contest which will be held at the King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in Riyadh.

Trainer by French legend Andre Fabre, Magny Cours also acts well on the dirt having finished third behind Mystic Guide in the G1 $12million Dubai World Cup last March.

On his most recent start, the son of Medaglia d’Oro flew home a close third in the G3 Bahrain International Trophy.

Assessing Real World’s chances bin Suroor said: “We had to run Real World on the turf in the Zabeel Mile to get him fit and ready for this race. He won well that day when I felt that he was just 90 percent fit.

“Stall four is a great draw. Real World always shows a good turn of foot and can jump from the gates. Frankie Dettori knows the horse, having won on him in France last year, and it would be great to see him run well.”

Andre Fabre said: “Magny Cours travelled out very well and has adapted well to his surroundings in Saudi Arabia. They are taking excellent care of him out there and he heads into this in good form. We are happy with stall seven and are looking forward to it.”

The Godolphin duo takes on some of America’s best dirt horses and defending champion Mishriff from the UK.

Joint trainer Thady Gosden commented on Mishriff who was drawn on the wide outside in stall 14. “Last year he was drawn in 12 before winning so hopefully on Saturday he’ll jump well and get into a good place in the backstretch,” said the son of the great John Gosden.

“It’s a very competitive-looking renewal of the race. He comes here in good form and still shows plenty of enthusiasm.”

Leading the four-strong American raiding part is the Brad Cox-trained Mandaloun, a close second in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, whose trainer said: “He’s doing well in his preparation and the draw (6) is good, I’m pretty happy. So far everything looks really good, I believe we are on track for a big effort.”

The first-season Dubai handler Bhupat Seemar takes his chances with Secret Ambition, one of the stars at Zabeel Stables.

“I am a bit in the car park in this race and the sprint but we will just have to do our best and try to get lucky,” said Seemar, whose horses have been in irrepressible form all season at Meydan. “The horse is doing extremely well and he’s a warrior.”

Godolphin is well represented on the supporting card for the Saudi Cup, with Siskany, Dubai Future, and Desert Fire aiming to emulate Gifts Of Gold by winning the G3 Red Sea Turf Handicap.

Godolphin also sends out three in the G3 Saudi Derby including last season’s G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up Noble Truth, Sovereign Prince, and Island Falcon.

Another strong Godolphin contender is Naval Crown whose trainer Charlie Appleby seeks back-to-back victories in the G3 race having won it last year with Space Blues.

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