Saudi football federation officially launches bid to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup

Saudi football federation officially launches bid to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup
Saudi football federation officially launches bid to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Top buys at Tattersalls signal intent for Saudi Arabia’s newly formed Najd Stud

LONDON: The three most-expensive racehorses auctioned at the Tattersalls August sale will be at home in the upcoming King’s Cup series in Saudi Arabia, according to leading consignor Ted Voute.

The British bloodstock agent bought four horses at the recent three-day Newmarket sale totaling 650,000 guineas ($890,345), including the top-priced Walkinthesand (220,000 guineas), To Nathaniel (185,000 guineas), and Tell Me All (180,000 guineas) — all purchased for the newly formed Riyadh-based Najd Stud, which will be looking to run the horses in the upcoming series in the Kingdom.

Voute, who has a strong connection with Saudi Arabian racing having bought several horses for another Saudi owner Prince A. A. Faisal told Arab News he was happy with the horses’ chances in the Kingdom considering the remit given to him by the new stud.

“We basically bought the horses that are capable of a mile and two (furlongs) on soft ground, because the Riyadh track rides a little on the softer side and with the King’s Cup series in mind, that was kind of the remit,” he said.

“A horse like To Nathaniel, trained by John Gosden, the same trainer as Mishriff, was owned by George Strawbridge who actually had a winner on Saudi Cup day earlier this year, and particularly Walkinthesand being a horse that comes from a sire line that performs very well in Riyadh, so we focused on that combined with, obviously, performance.”

With the thoroughbred sales calendar disrupted this year by the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the new August sale came two months in advance of the usual autumn horses-in-training sale and Voute had to conduct some of his work remotely.

“We conducted the sale online, but I came up (to Newmarket) the day before and viewed all the horses, they have some very strict protocols here which we adhered to. We viewed them all, vetted them all and then had the luxury of doing the sale from my office at home via FaceTime,” he said.

“It’s a brand-new sale and it was timed because, for the July sale, a lot of those entering horses just felt it was a bit early. We couldn’t have the involvement of people from the Middle East, and we also just hadn’t had enough racing for people to know whether they wanted to sell horses or not, so we lobbied (for the sale).”

However, another Saudi-owned horse which has been racing recently and creating a buzz is Prince Faisal’s colt Mishriff, which came second in February’s Saudi Derby in Riyadh and went on to win at Newmarket, claim a French Derby victory at Chantilly, as well as a win at Deauville in France over the summer.

There was debate as to whether the three-year-old, bred by Prince Faisal, would run at the Champion Stakes at Ascot or in the prestigious l’Arc de Triomphe in France, but Voute told Arab News a run in England was on the cards.

“So, it’s been decided, he won’t go for the Arc, John Gosden got the boss Prince Faisal and I together via phone and we talked about all the eventualities and what we should be doing. He kind of pointed us more toward Champion (Stakes), he doesn’t mind a cut in the ground and sometimes at Ascot at that time of year there is cut in the ground.

“He’s been on the go, he won at Nottingham at the end of his two-year-old career in November and then obviously he was kept in training to go to the Saudi Cup day, which was Feb. 29, so he’s been on the go quite a long time,” he added.

Voute also said that Prince Faisal was considering featuring the popular horse in the Kingdom again next year.

“The prince hasn’t ruled out looking at the Saudi Cup day to see if there’s a race there because the prize money is phenomenal. He’s a well-followed horse in Saudi Arabia and on social media I think he has a bit of a following, so he hasn’t ruled out thinking about coming back and doing that.”

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