James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Riyadh - February 26 2022
Riyadh 12:45
9(14)
Martin Dwyer

Pyledriver

J: Martin Dwyer
T: William Muir & Chris Grassick
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 76

The first race of the day from Saudi Arabia is the Group Three Neom Turf Cup over 1m 2 1/2f and with a big field heading to post we have two selections.

The now five year old was a real success story for the fairly small yard last term having made his seasonal debut in June when finishing second at Kempton, but since then improving with every run and showing he is a real black type contender.

He headed to Royal Ascot for his second start of the season and he was a shock winner of the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes.

The colt was given a Derby entry and went to Epsom but having being bumped in the big field early on he ran no race and as a far as Muir was concerned they drew a line through that run.

He proved how special he can be next time out when taking the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes at York's Ebor meeting, being eased down in the final stages.

The St Leger was next on the agenda and with many pundits fearing he would not stay, they were proved wrong as the three year old finished a length third behind winner Galileo Chrome.

Although seeing out the marathon trip his trainer believes he is best over 1 mile 4 furlongs, but he did not give his best running on his final start of the season when only seventh of 10 in the Group One Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Back for another season this term the son of Harbour Watch finished a decent second in the Group Two Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket behind the smart Sir Ron Priestley.

With that run under his belt Muir, as ever, was bullish about the chances of his star in the Group One event at Epsom and in a very gritty fashion, he got back up late on when passed by Al Aasy to land the Coronation Cup.

Having a setback after that event he was next seen back in November winning the Listed Churchill Stakes over 1m2f and that was used as a prep run for his second in the Group One Hong Kong Vase.

Given a break for this event he should be in prime form and dropping back to Group Three level could be the key.

Riyadh - February 26 2022
Riyadh 12:45
12(13)
Christophe Soumillon

Ebaiyra

J:
 
Christophe Soumillon
T:
 
F-H Graffard
Age: 5
Weight: 8-9
OR: N/A
Days: 76

At a much bigger price is the Francis Henri-Graffard trained Ebaiyra who also heads into the event in some smart form, finishing a good third behind Pyledriver last time out in the Hong Kong Vase.

Winning a Group Three and Group Two in France back in May, he has shown form on both fast and slow ground, with his latest third keeping him in the frame to hit the place at a big price.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
21/08/22DEA10Gd9-03
31/07/22MUN10GS9-33
12/07/22CHA10.5Gd9-01
01/05/22NMK9GF9-03
10/04/22LON10.5VSft8-113
Riyadh - February 26 2022
Riyadh 13:25
3(3)
Ryusei Sakai

Entscheiden

J: Ryusei Sakai
T: Yoshito Yahagi
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 49

The Group Three Turf Sprint comes next and at a big price is the Japanese based Entschieden who is the value in the race.

The seven year old has been hit and miss for most of his career but has a stand out piece of form that we are clinging onto.

Two starts ago he was a good third behind the smart Space Blues in the Group One Prix de la Foret on heavy ground.

That is a stand out piece of form and if getting back to that and hopefully with him being a Japanese bred horse he will perform better on the quicker ground.

One to watch.

Riyadh - February 26 2022
Riyadh 14:05
7(7)
Andrea Atzeni

Nayef Road

J: Andrea Atzeni
T: Charlie & Mark Johnston
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 9-6
OR: N/A
Days: 21

Another big priced fancy at Riyadh on Saturday is the Charlie & Mark Johnston trained Nayef Road who at 18/1 could run a huge race on his preferred better ground.

Coming third behind Logician in the 2019 St Leger hinted that his future could lie over further and he confirmed that promise when winning the rescheduled Sagaro Stakes in 2020 at Newcastle.

Coming second twice to Stradivarius followed. Beaten in the Gold Cup and the Goodwood Cup, he looked like he could finally get his turn to get his head in front at York but was beaten by the emphatic Enbihaar.

Starting last season much the same, he was beaten by Stradivarius in the Sagaro Stakes and has been poor since. Next home in Group Two and Group Three events, before coming mid division in the Gold Cup.

Looking to put things right in the Goodwood Cup he was outclassed again, but bounced back to form in the Doncaster Cup when third and then got back to winning ways over two miles at Newmarket in a Listed event.

Having a prep race for this event he was a fair fourth in a Conditions Stakes and that should have put him bang on for this.

The quick ground is a big bonus, especially running in a Group Three event.

Riyadh - February 26 2022
Riyadh 16:05
8(6)
Frankie Dettori

Noble Truth

J:
 
Frankie Dettori
T:
 
Charlie Appleby
Age: 3
Weight: 8-9
OR: N/A
Days: 126

The penultimate race we have a selection in on the day is the Group Three Saudi Derby over a mile and Noble Truth for Charlie Appleby will not be far away.

A son of Kingman, he’s won two of his five outings to date, finishing a good third on debut over seven furlongs in June at Newmarket hinting at plenty of promise behind the group winning Lusail. 

Running well in a deep contest set him up nicely to get off the mark at the second time of asking at Newmarket, seeing off the smart Ehraz.

He was disappointing when upped to the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York, when only beating one home, but the race form has turned out well.

Noble Truth bounced back to form at Doncaster when landing the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes from rival Hoo Ya Mal.

He then stepped up to Group One company last time out in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Stakes on Arc weekend and he was only beaten by Angel Bleu.

Looking to round off the season in style the Group Three Horris Hill Stakes he ran no race at all and that can be put behind him.

Coming into the race fresh off a break and getting his preferred ground, he is a player.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/06/22ASC7GF9-31
29/04/22NMK7Gd9-31
26/02/22JAN8Fs8-1013
23/10/21NBY7Sft9-04
03/10/21LON7Hy9-02
Riyadh - February 26 2022
Riyadh 17:35
7(6)
Florent Geroux

Mandaloun

J: Florent Geroux
T: Brad H Cox
N/A
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 35

The final event of the afternoon is the Grade One Saudi Cup over 1m1f and we have two selections at different ends of the market.

The first is the American trained Mandaloun for Juddmonte and trainer Brad Cox with the four year old seeking a four timer.

Winning a Listed race at Monmouth Park in June, he then finished landed the Grade One Haskell Stakes at the same track and backed that up last time out at Fair Grounds when landing the hat-trick in a Grade Three.

He holds some of the best form on offer and the fast conditions will be right up his street.

Riyadh - February 26 2022
Riyadh 17:35
8(3)
Joel Rosario

Midnight Bourbon

J: Joel Rosario
T: Steven Asmussen
N/A
Age: 4
Weight: 9-0
OR: N/A
Days: 35

At a bigger price is another American trained horse with Midnight Bourbon for trainer Steve Asmussen looking to take out a big pot.

A highly consistent animal placing in all four of his latest events, three of them Grade One company, showing he can mix it at this level, especially under these conditions.

His latest second behind Mandaloun was a superb run only going down by 3/4 of a length and at more than double the price he looks the value.

Big each way player once more.