US $2,500,000 The Longines Turf Handicap – 3000m
King’s Advice (GB) – Mark Johnston’s son and assistant Charlie is due into Saudi Arabia this evening, so it was left to Robynne Watton, senior travelling manager to Johnston, to oversee the work of the eight-times winner for the yard.
“He has done pretty much the same as yesterday,” said Watton. “He did two 1200-metre canters on the dirt and I am very happy with him and where he is. Hopefully Charlie will be here to see him tomorrow and his jockey Joe (Fanning) arrives tomorrow too.”
Prince Of Arran (GB) – Trainer Charlie Fellowes was at the racecourse for the first time this week and was delighted with the condition of his 7-year-old, who has twice hit the frame in the Melbourne Cup.
“I am very happy with how he looks and he has taken the journey well,” Fellowes said. “He has travelled great and this has been the plan for a long time.
“We got a great draw last night in stall two and I am delighted with that. The track is much tighter than I realised and tighter than Meydan so we are in a perfect position.”
Call The Wind (GB) – The Freddy Head-trained galloper followed a similar routine to yesterday morning under the watchful eye of his trainer. “He just did another seven-furlong (1400m) canter on the dirt track here this morning,” he said. “All the work has been done at home with this horse and we just want to keep him happy. I would say he looks really well.”
True Self (IRE) – Did her final piece of fast work on the dirt track.
“My people over with True Self have been very happy with the horse since they arrived,” the renowned trainer Willie Mullins reported. “She has travelled well and they have been very pleased with her progress every day since arriving. She worked on the dirt track this morning and we are very happy with her.”
Called To The Bar (IRE) – Joakim Brandt, the husband and assistant of trainer Pia Brandt, who is also doubling as the work rider, took Called to the Bar for a jog on the dirt track and said: “He is doing well. I just took him for a jog early this morning and he will be doing a canter tomorrow.”
Downdraft (IRE) and Twilight Payment (IRE) (pictured) – The Joseph O’Brien-trained pair spent their first morning at the racetrack and they cantered a lap of the dirt track.
“Both horses are used to travelling having both been to Australia and from speaking to Brendan (Powell, assistant) and the lads who travelled with them, everyone seems to be very happy with how they settled in,” the trainer said.
“They did a light canter yesterday morning and went to the track for the first time today. They are drawn together and we’re really looking forward to the race. With this type of horse it is all about finding opportunities like this so when this race was announced it was always the plan to try and make it.”
Mekong (GB) – Trainer Jamie Osborne has brought his new charge across from Dubai, where he ran promisingly to be fourth in a 2800m Listed handicap, and he was among the later contingent for a stretch on the turf track.
“He just cantered around,” Osborne said. “We were hoping he’d get a lead horse, which he needs, but he had to go out on his own. It didn’t matter too much, he’s as fit as a flea and did a nice piece of work in Dubai a few days ago.”
US $1,900,000 The Obaiya Cup (Arabian Classic) – 2000m
Amwaj (FR) – Trained by Eric Lemartinel in Abu Dhabi, she arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday afternoon and remained in the quarantine yard on Thursday morning. Her trainer explained: “She only got in yesterday. I will take her out tomorrow onto the dirt track. I’m pleased with her so far. She travelled well and ate everything up this morning.”
Hajres (TUN) – The Elisabeth Bernard trained runner did a gentle canter on the dirt track on Thursday morning. “He is really well and continues to please me,” said his trainer.
US $1,500,000 The Saudia Sprint -1200m
Royal Intervention (IRE) – Ed Walker and a deputation from the Group 2 winner’s ownership group of the Lloyd Webber and Farish families were on hand to see her in boisterous form.
“She behaved badly, so that’s great news!” said Walker. “She worked on the grass, just stretching out over 1000m and quickening up over the last 400m. She’s very fit and it’s a strong race, but it’s not impossible.”
Momkin (IRE) – Trainer William Haggas arrived on Thursday morning, for a catch-up with his staff about a horse who joined his stable only last year. He was out on the dirt track just after 7am.
“He seems to have taken the journey well, he’s eating well and everything’s good at the moment,” said the trainer. “He just went for a canter this morning, he’s fit and has done plenty at home.”
Imperial Hint (USA) – Again galloped the wrong way around the dirt track a little more than 48 hours ahead of his engagement. As trainer Luis Carvajal Jnr has noted previously, if he sends the 7-year-old son of Imperialism the right way around, he sometimes acts like it’s raceday.
Carvajal has enjoyed the ride he’s been on in recent years with that horses like Imperial Hint have brought him as his stable has grown in quantity and quality.
“It’s great the success Imperial Hint has brought me around the world like coming here for the first time to Saudi Arabia,” Carvajal said. “It’s a big deal. That’s what you’re looking for, especially a small guy like me. I wish this would happen to every small trainer in horse racing.”
US $1,000,000 The stc 1351 Cup – 1351m
Sir Dancealot (IRE) – The David Elsworth-trained 6-year-old is no stranger to foreign travel having experienced Hong Kong in December 2018 and will be having his first run since appearing at ParisLongchamp in October.
“He feels great and has travelled well, having been out to Hong Kong before,” said Elsworth’s travelling head lad Andrew Morris. “He has taken it all in his stride. He can be a little keen on the track but the boss is happy which is the main thing.”
King Malpic (FR) – The Thierry Lemer trained challenger went onto the turf track on Thursday morning, where he worked over 1000m on his own. Jean-Christophe Phalip, the travelling head lad of Lemer, said: “He travelled really well, is eating up and seems in good form. It’s not his first trip and he is well acclimatised already.”
Ghoul (BRZ) – Went out for a slow leg stretch with Peter Miller stablemates Billy Batts (USA) (Samba Saudi Derby) and Captain Scotty (USA) (Saudia Sprint)
Miller, who was in the United States and thus unable to attend the Wednesday evening reveal of the barrier draws, was happy with the results when reached via text afterwards.
“I like all my draws,” said the 53-year-old Miller. “Captain Scotty and Billy Batts should be forwardly placed; Ghoul would be mid-pack in a perfect world.”
As for Thursday activity, assistant Kenny Blank reported: “Ghoul and Billy Batts had an easy jog. Captain Scotty walked and we’re pretty much ready to go. Nothing exciting, which is good.”
Speak In Colours (GB) – Joined his stable companions Downdraft (IRE) and Twilight Payment (IRE) on the dirt track this morning cantering seven furlongs on his own.
“Like Downdraft and Twilight Payment, Speak In Colours appears to be in good form over in Saudi Arabia,” trainer Joseph O’Brien confirmed. “He just cantered over seven furlongs (1400m) on the dirt track this morning. He is drawn in stall three for the race and the course and distance should suit him.”
Graignes (FR) – British trainer George Baker’s French import led the first batch of horses out onto the track at just after 7am and he had a steady spin around on the turf course.
“He cantered on the grass yesterday and has had a hack around this morning,” said Baker. “He is in good order and has all of his fast work done.
“I really hope he can be competitive – it might be beyond our wildest dreams to see him win but I will be disappointed if he doesn’t run well and this has been the plan for a long time.”
Suedois (FR) – The 9-year-old recent winner at Meydan arrived into Saudi Arabia from Dubai on Wednesday and had light exercise on the training track at 7am.
US $1,000,000 The Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Cup – 2100m
Deirdre (JPN) – Stretched her legs on the training track. “She had an easy day, after galloping on the turf yesterday,” said assistant trainer Yoshitake Hashida.
“She was a bit keen when preparing for her last start in Hong Kong but she is very calm here. The draw is fine with us since she will come from behind and the field is kind of small, we were not too worried about it.”
Trais Fluors (GB) – Group 1 winning jockey Billy Lee was onboard the 6-year-old as he did a steady canter around the turf track.
“We just did a light canter but the horse felt well,” Lee confirmed. “It was my first time on the track and it rode extremely well with a nice cushion on it and a lovely covering of grass. It’s a very impressive surface and felt as good as anywhere in the world. I’m very happy with Trais Fluors and how he has travelled here and the lads have been delighted with him as well. He just seems to be nice and relaxed. It’s all systems go and we are looking forward to Saturday.”
Intellogent (IRE) – The Fabrice Chappet trained runner came onto the dirt track accompanied by a pony. He went for a jog and his work rider said: “He is in good form. He travelled well and everything is fine.”
Royal Youmzain (FR) – Trained by Andreas Wöhler in Germany, Royal Youmzain came onto the dirt track on Thursday morning. His trainer, who is on his way to Saudi Arabia, confirmed: “Everything seems to be going well and my lad is happy with the horse.”
US $800,000 The Samba Saudi Derby -1600m
Rowdy Yates (USA) – It was an easy morning for Rowdy Yates on Thursday as the Steve Asmussen son of Morning Line stood in the starting gate and followed with an easy gallop over the dirt track. Scott Blasi, assistant to Asmussen, said: “All good,” and noted that the 3-year-old colt would have another easy go of it on Friday morning.
Mishriff (IRE) and Cherokee Trail (USA) – The British raiders again had light exercise on the dirt track this morning, doing an easy 1400m.
Full Flat (USA) – Walked in the quarantine area along with stablemate and Saudia Sprint contender Matera Sky (USA).
“We breezed them yesterday so took it easy today,” said assistant trainer Masaaki Takano.
“Both came out of their work in good order and they were moving very well this morning. Full Flat’s draw might be the best of the two outside posts we have since there is a bit of distance before the first turn. Matera Sky breaks well but the turn is a lot closer so we would have preferred a more inner post.”