Mishriff On Track For Saudi Cup Title Defence


Leading middle distance horse Mishriff for trainer John Gosden is set to return for another season and will start his campaign off looking to land back to back renewals of the Saudi Cup.

The five year old exceeded expectations at the start of his career being unbeaten on all three of his first three year old runs, starting in the Listed Newmarket Stakes where he saw off his highly touted stablemate Waldkonig.

He then stepped up to the French Derby at Chantilly and he landed the event in fine style, pulling away from a talented field to take the first Group One of his career.

Gosden went with the approach that if its not broke, don't fix it and he sent him back to France for the Group Two Prix Guillaume daEUR and although only a small field took to post, he landed the spoils nicely.

Having swerved the Arc the colt was in flying form and headed for the Champion Stakes at Ascot for his final run of the season and unfortunately ran no sort of race and was outclassed on the day.

However, having been given a break and fine tuned for his run in the Saudi Cup he stayed on best of the rest in the final stages to see off American challenger Charlatan to land the second renewal of the race.

His international exploits didn't stop there and last time out he was seen landing the Group One Dubai Sheema Classic in the final strides at Meydan to cap off a superb few months in Asia.

The son of Make Believe was given a break and returned in the four runner Coral Eclipse and was outclassed by both St Mark's Basilica and Addeybb.

However, he seemed to need the run that day and it bought him on a fair bit next time out when chasing home Derby winner Adayar in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Next time out he gave one of the performances of his career when bolting up in the Juddmonte International, seeing off Alenquer by six lengths eased down.

Having not been seen since then he looked the one to beat in the Champion Stakes but had to settle for a tame fourth, with no excuses coming to light for the below par run.

Back for another term, a return to Saudi Arabia is imminent for the five year old, who is currently the second-favourite for the hugely valuable event behind Life Is Good for trainer Todd Pletcher’s.

(Credit ATR) “That’s his target, the Saudi Cup, and as far as I know everything is on track,” said Ted Voute, racing manager to Mishriff’s owner, Prince Faisal.

“He’s amazing, going back to back to Dubai and then Saudi, he’s got an amazing constitution.

“What I do know is that John said to me that he’s thickened out even more and he’s even stronger.

“We’ll wait and see, I notice we’re second favourite to one of the American horses which I like, that takes the pressure off a little bit!

“Fingers crossed he stays in one piece and gets out there, it would be fun.”

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing