US $2,500,000 The Longines Turf Handicap – 3000m
Called To The Bar (IRE) – The Pia Brandt-trained contender came out onto the dirt track on Wednesday morning, where Joakim Brandt, Pia’s husband, took him for a slow canter. “He is in great form,” Joakim Brandt confirmed. “He came here on Sunday and everything is going all right. He ran a good race in Hong Kong and seeing that he likes good ground it made sense to bring him here.”
Downdraft (IRE) and Twilight Payment (IRE) – Brendan Powell, assistant trainer to Joseph O’Brien. “The horses arrived on Tuesday morning and just had a trot around,” Powell said. “We just did a four and a half furlong (900m) canter on the training track today. I will speak to Joseph later today and discuss with him if we’ll bring them to the turf track tomorrow morning. Both of these horses had their last run in the Melbourne Cup and they have travelled over here well from Ireland.”
Call The Wind (GB) – Trainer Freddy Head was in attendance this morning to watch as the Group 1 winner Call The Wind exercise on the dirt track. “I’m very happy with the horse and very happy to be here,” Head beamed. “He did a seven furlong (1400m) canter this morning. He is fit and all the work has been done at home.”
King’s Advice (GB) – Mark Johnston’s British raider warmed up for his trip to Saudi Arabia with outings at Lingfield at Kempton in the last few weeks and was again exercised on the dirt track on Wednesday.
“He did two 1200m canters and will do the same again tomorrow,” said Robynne Watton, senior travelling manager to Johnston. “He arrived here in the early hours of Sunday morning and got to the track around 7.30am that day. He seems happy and is eating well.”
Prince Of Arran (GB) – The British globetrotter arrived out onto the dirt track at 7.10am for a canter and appears to have settled well into his new surroundings. Charlie Fellowes’s 7-year-old is a dual Melbourne Cup runner-up and will be having his first start of 2020. (pictured)
“He has travelled as well as expected for an old pro like him,” said Fellowes, from his Newmarket base. “He has taken well to his new surroundings and his temperature is good. He has done a couple of canters and the team there have been pleased with him. I am flying out later today and look forward to seeing him on the track tomorrow.”
Mekong (GB) – Formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute, the 5-year-old is now in the care of Jamie Osborne and was due into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday after his recent encouraging fourth-placed finish on his debut for new connections at Meydan.
US $1,900,000 The Obaiya Cup (Arabian Classic) – 2000m
Hajres (TUN) – Trained by Elisabeth Bernard in the South West of France, he arrived on Sunday and on Wednesday morning cantered on the dirt track. “He is doing well,” Elisabeth Bernard said. “He is from Tunisia originally, so he likes the sun. So I don’t want him to come to the track too early, when it is still a bit chilly. It’s nice to have a good horse and to come here. I’m very excited about the race.”
US $1,500.000 The Saudia Sprint -1200m
Royal Intervention (IRE) – Kajsa Lindsjo, a former champion apprentice in Sweden, is overseeing the preparation of the filly until trainer Ed Walker arrives. “She just did a six-furlong (1200m) steady canter on the dirt,” she said. “She’s doing good, very happy.”
Momkin (IRE) – Georgia Cox was in the saddle as the colt stretched his legs on the dirt track. “He had a racecourse gallop last week, so he’s pretty fit,” said Cox. “We just cantered a lap today, he seems well. The boss (William Haggas) is coming tomorrow so he’ll work out a plan.”
Matera Sky (USA) – Breezed on the dirt track with jockey Yutaka Take on board.
“He is very relaxed and is in good shape. Dirt here is likely to similar to that in Dubai and USA, I think it is very deep and tough, so horses need power. I think Matera Sky will handle it,” Take said.
Captain Scotty (USA) – Was out with Ghoul (USA), who heads to the post in the stc 1351 Cup and Billy Batts (USA), who heads for the Samba Saudia Derby.
Assistant trainer Kenny Black, who is supervising the three-horse contingent sent by California-based conditioner Peter Miller, said: “We jogged Captain Scotty and schooled in the starting gate. (Thursday) we will train Ghoul and Billy Batts – probably just give them an easy jog day. ‘Scotty’ will walk. We’ve done all our serious work breezes. Now just get them rested and happy.”
Imperial Hint (USA) – Luis Carvajal Jnr was on hand to supervise his charge.
“He galloped a couple of laps around the (dirt) track a couple of times this morning,” Carvajal said. “I don’t want to send him the right way because I don’t want to run off before the race. He just gets to lope the wrong way.”
The hands-on Carvajal noted of the 7-year-old son of Imperialism: “He shipped magnificently. He shipped very well. He’s been eating up, drinking a lot of water. That’s all you want to see. The horse looks happy. I may walk him to the race.”
In his most recent effort, the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park on December 21, Imperial Hint took the lead late in the seven-furlong (approximately 1400m) race but faded to finish third.
“(Gulfstream Park) is a fast track,” Carvajal noted. “We were following (2019 Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner X Y Jet) and (1400m) is too long for him right now. He can handle 6-1/2 (furlongs, 1300m) very well, which he did but the last (100m) did him in but he was still ran a real good race. I was very happy with him.”
Gladiator King (USA) – Fresh off the plane from Dubai – as of about 11:00am Wednesday – and a pair of Group 3 victories over this 1200m distance, Satish Seemar’s runner brings the eye-catching orange and black silks of Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi into the race with no lack of confidence.
“He’s done nothing wrong,” Seemar said. “He has a 100% record with us and since the day he got here at Zabeel (Racing Stables), he’s been 100%. I know he’s a solid Group 3 horse on paper at the moment and is going against some good Group 1 winners, but I feel we have an advantage because he’s in great form and very fit.”
Drafted (USA) – Misty Hollow Farm’s multiple Group 3 winner arrived on Wednesday morning from Doug Watson’s Red Stables base in Dubai.
The grey 6-year-old gelding enters off a pair of disappointing runs at his home track of Meydan, but his fellow US-bred conditioner remains optimistic that a positive effort is pending.
“We had to miss a work or so and it wasn’t a perfect preparation for him, but he really is healthy and doing well right now.” Watson said. “Hopefully he adapts to that track over there. I think it’s just a matter of that and if he needs the run.”
US $1,000.000 The stc 1351 Cup – 1351m
Speak In Colours (GB) – Brendan Powell, an English Grand National winning jockey, is now assistant trainer to Joseph O’Brien and is overseeing O’Brien’s three runners this week. “We just did a four and a half furlong canter on the training track,” Powell said. “Speak In Colours seems in very good form and I walked the track yesterday and if the ground stays like it is now it will be perfect for him.”
Graignes (FR) – A recent purchase to the George Baker barn in England having been placed fifth in two French Grade 1 events and fourth in the Paris-Longchamp 2000 Guineas, the 4-year-old was again first out on the turf track at 7am. His trainer will arrive in the country on Thursday.
Suedois (FR) – The 9-year-old recent winner at Meydan is due to arrive into Saudi Arabia on Wednesday from Dubai.
US $1,000.000 The Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Cup – 2100m
Deirdre (JPN) – Breezed on the turf track under regular rider Yuta Koiyama.
“She likes warmer weather, so I am happy with her condition at the moment and how she moved this morning,” trainer Mitsuru Hashida said. “She is based in Newmarket and is travelling a lot, so I do not have any concern about her travelling overseas at all. She had a bit of a break since her last start and we have decided not to go to Dubai afterwards. Hopefully her training will continue to go well for her big race on Saturday.”
True Self (IRE) – Justin Hannafin was aboard the globe-trotting mare for one lap of the dirt track. “She’s in good form,” Hannafin said. “We just did one canter and it’s just about keeping her ticking over between now and raceday.”
Port Lions (IRE) – The former Irish-trained gelding is three from three since joining Fawzi Nass in Bahrain and arrived into Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
“He went out on the training track this morning and trotted round doing basically a slow canter for one lap,” said Nass.
“He arrived here yesterday and I will keep it very simple for the rest of the week. He did his last big bit of work in Bahrian before he left and will have a slow canter on the turf track tomorrow.”
US $800,000 The Samba Saudi Derby -1600m
Mishriff (IRE) and Cherokee Trail (USA) – The John Gosden-trained pair appeared at 7.10am on the dirt track and enjoyed routine canters. The former is a son of Make Believe and was a 10-length winner on his third and final start of 2019, while Cherokee Trail is a son of War Front and has landed two of his three career starts.
“They have both been out on the track yesterday and today and have easy canters over around 1400 metres,” said the trainer’s son Thady.
“They have basically just been trotting since they got here and will do the same the next couple of days. They both arrived very early on Sunday and seem to be very much enjoying themselves.”
Full Flat (USA) breezed on the dirt track and big-race pilot Yutaka Take said: “He is in good condition. He raced in America last year, so he traveled well. I am looking forward to his performance.”
Final Song (IRE) – A winner of two of seven, she arrived on Wednesday afternoon from her Al Quoz Stables base in Dubai. The Saeed bin Suroor trainee will take on the boys and comes in as one of the more seasoned runners, having competed three times in 2020.
“She’s come back well from her last race,” Bin Suroor said. “She’s in good form and I think she’s doing well for this race. A mile will suit her.”
Lake Causeway (USA) – He may be a maiden, but the consistent hard-trying nature of the good-looking grey gelding has his connections feeling that he could be in with a chance.
“He’s an honest horse, keeps training really well and his races have been very good,” said Satish Seemar, who trains him at Zabeel Racing Stables in Dubai. “I must say, when he ran first time out, I was quite surprised, because didn’t think he would be that far along. I wouldn’t have taken him to Saudi if I didn’t have confidence in him.”