Japanese trained 3-year-old Full Flat (USA) grabbed his first triumph overseas under his regular rider Yutaka Take in the $800,000 Samba Saudi Derby Cup over 1600m on dirt at King Abdulaziz Racetrack.
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.
Winning trainer Hideyuki Mori was capturing his first major international victory since the 2000 Group 1 July Cup in Great Britain with Agnes World.
Yutaka Take, jockey, Full Flat, 1st: “He was really in good form and went to the race a fit horse. Last year he went to America for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and ran well, so I am pleased to make the most of what he had learnt there. This is one of the best races in the world, and all the top horsemen and horses have come to compete, so I really wanted to win. It is a great pleasure to have him win the race. We are heading to the UAE Derby next, and then if everything goes well as planned, the Kentucky Derby must be one of our options later on.”
Hideyuki Mori, trainer, Full Flat: “My horse startled the horse next to him when he was bucking before the start and his bridle came off, but thanks to the very smart groom, he held the horse’s leg and nothing happened. He jumped well from the gate. I thought the UAE Oaks winner would take a lead but she didn’t, so he sat just behind the leader. As it has been such a long time since my last win overseas, I am so pleased now. We will do our best in the next start up for the UAE Derby.”
David Egan, jockey, Mishriff, 2nd: “He stayed on really well, we just ran out of real estate. He jumped a bit slow but luckily we had a wide draw and we were able to make up ground. He stayed on all the way to the line and he’ll be a fun horse for next year. He’s got a real knee action and I think the ground really suits him here, it’s a lovely surface.”
Saeed bin Suroor, trainer, Final Call, 3rd: “She ran well but didn’t stay at a mile (1600m). I think she is better at five (1000m) to seven furlongs (1400m).”
Rest of jockey quotes:
Mike Smith, Rowdy Yates, 4th: “He didn’t get a hold of (the track) like I hoped he would. He kind of struggled over it. It’s kind of looser than it was yesterday for whatever reason.”
Luis Saez, Rajee Allah, 6th: “My horse just got a little tired. He broke pretty sharp but when he came to the straight he was a little tired. He’s a nice horse.”
Mickael Barzalona, Down On Da Bayou, 8th: “My filly never travelled well.”
Camilo Ospina, Tamaari, 9th: “Just too fast. The Japanese horse (winner Full Flat) is a good horse and the local horses seemed to go away today.”
Ryan Moore, Cherokee Trail, 10th: “He’d never been on dirt and it’s just too slow for him. He got kickback and he didn’t know how to face it.”
Irad Ortiz, Bella Fever, 13th: “She was really nervous. She jumps and she almost flipped. She was really nervous behind the gate. After that, she was there, perfect, but then I don’t know why. She just couldn’t find herself here.”