Emblem Road shock winner of $20m Saudi Cup

Scores by half a length from American raiders Country Grammer and Midnight Bourbon a length and a half back in third



Stuns the field: Emblem Road wins the $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh on Saturday night. — Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia
Stuns the field: Emblem Road wins the $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh on Saturday night. — Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 11:20 PM

Emblem Road stunned the world when he delivered the performance of a lifetime to win the $20 million Saudi Cup, the world’s richest horse race, for the hosts to cap an unforgettable night at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh on Saturday night.

Panamanian jockey Willie Ramos, who has spent the best part of two decades riding in Saudi Arabia, delivered Emblem Road a furlong from the line and the four-year-old responded with a rattling run to score by half a length from American raiders Country Grammer and Midnight Bourbon a length and a half back in third.

The racing world has known for long just how upwardly mobile the Saudis are about their sport and Emblem’s Road’s victory over a world-class field was justification for their commitment to set the gold standard for horse racing.

Earlier, French ace Christophe Lemaire, demonstrated just why he has been the most successful jockey on Japan Racing Association racetracks for the past five years when he amassed a quartet of wins and remarkable each one for a different Japanese trainer.

The 42-year-old rider began the day powering Authority across the line in the G3 $1.5 million Neon Turf Cup before scorching home in the $1.5 million 1351 Cup Turf Sprint aboard the classy speedball, Songline.

Stay Foolish, who has not won since May 2018, rediscovered his best form to complete a stunning turf treble for Lemaire, when making all to win the $2.5 million Longines Red Sear Turf Handicap over 3,000 metres.

The winner was trained by Breeders’ Cup Classic winning handler Yoshito Yahagi who said that the Saudi stayer’s race was always the plan for the seven-year-old son of Stay Gold.

Summing up his four-timer Lemaire said: “Unbelievable. I can’t imagine this is happening.

“But you know I was very comfortable with that horse (Stay Foolish) because the last morning [work], he looked really beautiful and I had a good feeling.

“I knew he would stay the trip so once we took the lead he was very comfortable in front. He used his stamina and what a performance.”

Meanwhile, Hadi De Carrere stamped his ticket to the Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night by winning the Obalya Arabian Classic Cup in taking style under multiple French champion Olivier Peslier.

Highly regarded Talal Al Khalediah finished second with Bahraini challenger RB Rich Like Me back in third.

“Today he proved that he’s a very good horse,” said Peslier, while the winner’s trainer Thomas Fourcy added: “He showed a lot of toughness as a three he did it well today.

We go to Dubai for the Kahayla Classic next.”


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