Saudi Cup Card: Betting Preview & Picks

Saturday 25th February will see some of the world’s finest horses, jockeys and trainers head to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Saudi Cup. The richest horse race in the world, a loaded field will be trying to get their hands on a chunk of the $20,000,000 prize pool. Here our Saudi Cup Card Betting Preview!

An eight-race card awaits us this Saturday, with the Grade 3 Neom Turf Cup being the first big race of the day. A field of eleven have been declared, and it could be an emotional return to the track for Oisin Murphy who will be riding in his first graded contest since returning from a year ban. He will partner Missed The Cut who will be hoping to build on his success in the Golden Gate Stakes at Royal Ascot last year.

A top-class field will take to the turf in the 1351 Turf Sprint with Japanese star Songline looking to win the race for the second year in succession.

Arguably the toughest race of the day to predict could come in the form of this year’s Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap. Raced over 1 mile and 7 furlongs, some of Europe’s top staying horses will be in the field with the likes of Enemy, Trawlerman, Sisfahan and Silver Sonic all likely to be popular selections.

The final Grade 3 race of the card comes in the shape of the Riyadh Dirt Sprint where several of America’s leading trainers have entrants in the contest. Japanese trained horses have bagged this race in each of the last two years and will have four entrants in this year’s contest.

Despite a strong Japanese presence, the overwhelming favorite for this year’s renewal will be the Bill Mott trained Elite Power. Unbeaten in his last five career starts, Elite Power heads into the race following success in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and was awarded the title of Eclipse Award Champion Male Sprinter of 2022. A sixth straight win looks likely, and he will be the one the rest of the field will have to beat.


Neom Turf Cup

Grade 3, 1 mile and 2.5 furlongs, Turf, open to horses aged four and over. Total prize pool: $1.5 million

A world class day of racing kicks off with the running of this year’s Neom Turf Cup. A race packed full of international flavor, likely favorite for the contest will be the George Boughey trained Missed The Cut.

Boughey is one of the most highly rated young trainers in the game, and he will be wanting to taste success on international shores. Missed The Cut had a productive 2022 with his crowning moment coming at last year’s Royal Ascot meeting where he won the Golden Gates Stakes in taking fashion.

Announcing himself on the biggest stage that day, Missed The Cut then travelled to France where he ran poorly in the Grade 2 Prix Guillame d’Ornano to only finish fifth out of the six horses in the contest. Putting that poor run behind him, he finished his 2022 campaign with a cozy success in the Listed Churchill Stakes.

Despite his promise, he is still looking for the first graded victory of his career and many of his rivals in this race will point to his poor race in France and will believe he is beatable.

One horse who will be looking to expose any chinks in Missed The Cut’s armor will be Mostahdaf. Also trained in the UK by legendary trainer John Gosden, Mostahdaf had a busy 2022 which saw him compete in several competitive races.

A winner at this level in the Grade 3 Gordon Richards Stakes and September Stakes, he would go onto hit the crossbar in the Grade 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. Despite not winning the Hardwicke, he finished ahead of Hurricane Lane and that represents some top form. A busy and productive season had clearly taken its toll as he ran a poor race in the Arc de Triomphe, finishing last. He will be hoping to put that poor performance behind him here.

Likely to round out the top three in the betting will be the Godolphin trained Dubai Future. A seven year old, Dubai Future will be one of the oldest horses in the field and will be wanting to capture the second Grade 3 prize of his career.

By no means a prolific winner, he does have an advantage over several of his rivals and has already run twice this year. Although yet to win, he did run with credit when he finished second in the Grade 2 Al Rashidiya. With fitness on his side, he could be one of the best value bets in the field.

Sir Busker has become one of the most popular horses in training, and the seven year old will be aiming to land yet another prestigious prize. He had a busy campaign last year, with his finest moment coming in the Grade 2 York Stakes.

Another busy season awaits, and he has already hit the track this year, finishing second in the Tandridge Stakes. He has shown on countless occasions he can compete at this level and will be hoping to make his mark yet again.

White Moonlight, is the second Godolphin runner that has been declared for Saturday’s race and he will be hoping to build on his second place in the Cape Verdi Strakes last time out.

Neom Turf Cup Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseTrainerOdds by JazzSports
BylineAllan Smith
CastleMoutaib Almulawah
Dubai FutureSaeed bin Suroor
Eagle’s FlightNaif Almandeel
Flying VisitSami Al Harabi
Missed the CutGeorge Boughey
MostahdafJohn & Thady Gosden
Peter the GreatFawaz Alghareeban
Sir BuskerWilliam Knight
Star of WinsNaser Fawaz
White MoonlightSaeed bin Suroor

A competitive contest awaits us in this year’s Neom Turf Cup. Missed The Cut deserves to start as favorite but concerns over his fitness are valid and it could be worth siding with either Godolphin runner, Dubai Future or White Moonlight who will turn up for the contest fully tuned up.

Turf Sprint

Grade 3, Seven furlongs, Turf, open to horses aged four and over. Total prize pool: $1.5 million

For the past few years, Japanese racing has emerged as a hot bed of talent, with many Japanese horses enjoying immense success on the global stage. One of those highlights came in this contest last year when Songline captured the race in thrilling fashion.

She heads to Saudi Arabia hoping to emulate her heroics from last year and she travels in good heart. Since her win twelve months ago, her trainer Toru Hayashi has sent her to the track sparingly but her lack of racecourse action hasn’t stopped the success. She backed up her performance in this contest by landing the prestigious Yasuda Kinen back in Japan. A Grade 1 contest, she has proved that she can win at the very highest level and is likely to start as the worthy favorite here.

Japanese trained horses are likely to head the market with Bathrat Leon likely to be a popular selection for the race. Similarly to Songline, Bathrat Leon had a reasonably light schedule in 2022 but spent most of the year abroad. A taking success in the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile saw him try to take races in the UK and France last summer, but something was clearly amiss, as he finished outside the top three on both occasions.

Following his disappointing European summer, he returned back to Japan and recorded a pair of placed finishes in Grade 3 and Grade 2 company. If back to his best, he will be a danger to all in the field, but he has now gone four races without a win and will need to find something extra here.

Two more Japanese horses will take their chances in the shape of Lauda Sion and Resistencia. Resistencia will be able to call upon the services of top jockey Ryan Moore and will be looking to add another graded win, following success in both Grade 1 and Grade 2 races earlier in her career.

Both the Americans and Europeans will be hoping to take on the Japanese and their looks to be plenty of live chances.

Casa Creed for Bill Mott represents the strongest chance of this race heading back to America. Twice a winner in Grade 1 company last season in the Jaipur Stakes and Fourstardave Handicap, he finished his 2022 in disappointing fashion with a couple of unplaced efforts. He has been off the track since November and if fully wound up will be a danger to all in the field.

British trainer Charlie Hills sends over a pair of seven-year-olds to compete in this contest. Garrus needs to be respected but Pogo represents the trainer’s best chance for success.

Despite being in the twilight of his career, he had a fine 2022 campaign where he would win two Grade 3 races and one Grade 2 contest. 2022 suggested that there could be plenty more to come, and he could be the best value bet of this race.

A special mention should be given to the Richard Hannon trained Happy Romance who ran well in this race last year, finishing third, just a few lengths behind Songline.

Turf Sprint Odds & Betting Pick

HorseTrainerOdds by Jazzsports
Bathrat LeonYoshito Yahagi
Casa Creed William Mott
GarrusCharlie Hills
Lauda SionTakashi Saito
LusailRichard Hannon
PogoCharlie Hills
RaaedBedan Alsubaie
RozgarBader Rezaiq
Happy RomanceRichard Hannon
ResistenciaTakeshi Matsushita
SonglineToru Hayashi

With so many horses competing in this race from different corners of the globe it can be hard to see how the form stacks up. Songline knows what it takes to win this race but the form of Casa Creed can’t be ignored and if fit enough he could take some stopping. Pogo should be feared and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to run a big race.

Turf Cup Handicap

Grade 3, 1 mile seven furlongs, Turf, open to horses aged four and over. Total prize pool: $1.5 million

A thriller of a race awaits in this year’s Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap. The longest race of the day, several of Europe’s top staying horses will be looking to kick off their year in style.

The most interesting horse in this year’s line up is the Charlie and Mark Johnstone trained Subjectivist. Back in 2021, he had the world at his feet when he denied Stradivarius a fourth Ascot Gold Cup. Elation would soon turn to disaster, as shortly after that victory, he suffered an almost career ending injury and has been off the racecourse since.

Making his first run in well over eighteen months it will be fascinating to see how he shapes up and he could be one of the best value options of the whole meeting.

Whilst Subjectivist has been recovering, Trawlerman has been making hay. Now five years old, he hinted at potential during his three-year-old campaign and that promise was starting to be fulfilled last year. Twice a winner last season, he heads to Saudi Arabia having landed the prestigious Ebor Handicap. He finished his season on British Champions Day where he ran out a respectable third in the Long Distance Cup. Back in calmer waters, he could be the one to beat.

British trainer Ian Williams will send horses to Saudi Arabia for the first time, with Enemy representing his best chance of success. Lightly campaigned last season, Enemy only tasted success once but warmed up for this contest when shocking the rest of the field in this year’s Dubai Racing Club Classic. That victory represented a career best performance. Although he has never competed at this level, he turns up in great form and could be one of the better betting options in the race.

British trainers will also field Al Qareem, Get Shirty and Nate The Great. Of the three, Al Qareem has to be heavily respected. He rounded off his 2022 campaign in grand style by winning the Grade 2 Qatar Prix Chaudenay and that effort was clearly the best of his career.

Nate The Great was a winner last time out in the Rose Bowl Stakes and as a former hurdler will have bags of stamina for this trip. Likely to start a big price, he is certain to give his running.

There are several trainers who will be looking to ensure that the race doesn’t end up back in Britain. Japanese trained Silver Sonic has posted several decent efforts throughout his career which includes success last time out in Grade 2 company. A good winner of the Sports Nippon Sho Stayers Stakes, he is another who will head to Saudi Arabia at the top of his game.

Echt for Hideyuki Mori is another who must be respected. Unlike the majority of his rivals in this race he has already run this year, finishing second in the American Jockey Club Cup. Another with fitness on his side, he could be one to watch with great interest.

Turf Cup Handicap Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseTrainerOdds by Jazzsports
SubjectivistCharlie Johnston
TrawlermanJohn & Thady Gosden
EnemyIan WIlliams
Al QareemKarl Burke
Big CallChristophe Ferland
Get ShirtyDavid O’Meara
Silver SonicYasutoshi Ikee
SisfahanHenk Grewe
My FrankelHussein Alshoieb
Nate the GreatAndrew Balding
EchtHideyuki Mori
Master GatsbyBader Rezaiq
Pin Your HopesNaif Almandeel

A great race awaits in this year’s Longines Red Sea Turf Cup with several horses in with a real shot of victory. Last season’s exploits of Trawlerman can’t be ignored and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to end out on top. Enemy is clearly thriving and at a price could be a decent play.

Saudi Cup Odds Banner

Dirt Sprint

Grade 3, 6 furlongs, Dirt, open to horses aged three and over. Total prize pool: $1.5 million

The final race before this year’s Saudi Cup will be the Riyadh Dirt Sprint and it has all of the potential to serve as the perfect appetizer for the big race. Nine horses have been declared and the contest is loaded with quality.

Japanese trained horses have won this race for the past two seasons and connections of Japanese racing will hope they can make it third time lucky in this year’s renewal. Japan will field four horses in the race, with Dancing Prince, likely to start as the favorite.

Dancing Prince was successful in this race last year, and since then, has won four of his last five contests, including a success last time out in the JCB Sprint. He clearly likes the track and could take some stopping.

If Dancing Prince fails to fire, Japanese hopes may rest with Remake. A four year old, Remake is trained out of the Koichi Shintani stable and compared to most in this field is lightly raced. This Saturday’s Dirt Sprint will only be the fifth start of his career. He has tasted success twice, including last time out when a winner of the Grade 3 Capella Stakes. Relatively unexposed and with improvement to come, he could be the most interesting runner in this year’s renewal.

Looking to end Japan’s recent dominance of the race will be Bill Mott, and he sends over one of his superstars in the form of Elite Power. A dominating sprinter, he rounded off a terrific 2022 by winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in terrific fashion. A speedball of a horse, he could be the classiest horse in this field by some distance and will be looking to win on foreign soil for the first time in his career.

Legendary US trainer Steve Asmussen has done it all and will be hoping to add to his huge list of honors with a success in this year’s race. He sends one of his best in Gunite, who has won six of his eleven career starts.

A winner at the very highest level in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes back in 2021, he added to that win last year with a victory in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes. This race has clearly been on the agenda since a poor run in the Breeders’ Cup and he warmed up for the contest nicely with an easy win in the King Cotton Stakes. Arriving fit and in form he should play a big part in proceedings.

Dirt Sprint Odds & Betting Pick

HorseTrainerOdds by JazzSports
Dancing PrinceKeisuke Miyata
Elite PowerWilliam Mott
Freedom FighterBhupat Seemar
GuniteSteven Asmussen
JustinYoshito Yahagi
MeraasChad Summers
PaganFaisal Almandeel
RemakeKoichi Shintani
Ryuno Yukina

In a race that is bound to be fast and furious, anything could happen in this year’s renewal of the Riyadh Dirt Sprint, but despite the presence of last year’s winner Dancing Prince, Elite Power has the form and pedigree to be a danger to all. Clearly thriving, his backers will have to hope the journey across to Saudi Arabia hasn’t taken too much out of him. If he can run to his level, he will be the horse they all have to beat.

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