Halfway report as Frankie Dettori wins, Bahraini horses dominate on Saudi Cup day

Frankie Dettori celebrates after winning the The stc 1351 Cup on Dark Power in Riyadh at the Saudi Cup meeting. (Reuters)
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Updated 29 February 2020

Halfway report as Frankie Dettori wins, Bahraini horses dominate on Saudi Cup day

RIYADH: The first ever Saudi Cup at King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in Riyadh reached the half-way mark with the action in the first four races perfectly setting the tone ahead of what promises to be a spectacular $20 million showpiece finale.The historic day got under way at 4pm with the Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors Cup 2,100m (1mile 2 and 1/2 furlongs) turf run, with Port Lions of Bahrain, ridden by Adrie De Vries, making a late charge to claim victory just ahead of Deirdre in second and For The Top in third.
The Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa owned, Fawzi Nass-trained horse from Victorious Racing becomes the first ever horse to win a turf race on Saudi Cup day.
“It feels absolutely amazing to win the first turf race here in Saudi Arabia,” Nass said. “Of course, we came here with some hope but to actually accomplish that is amazing. He missed the break quite badly, which didn’t help but obviously we know he’s got a very nice turn of foot. I wasn’t sure if he could do that from so far back off a slow pace but obviously he managed. He has just improved and improved. He’s a proper fast ground horse and has done very well since he came to Bahrain.”
The winning Jockey called the win “fantastic” and revealed that though Port Lions was being underestimated by many, his camp had confidence he’d come good.
“We almost hit the front too soon,” De Vries said. “It’s just amazing for the connections. The track is beautiful. I can’t believe in such a short time they were able to make it; it was a dream to ride on. It feels amazing to win. I knew we would run well but I wasn’t sure if we could beat the Japanese filly. It is just a great feeling.”
=The second race of the day, The stc 1351 Cup over 6 and 3/4 furlongs saw Frankie Dettori storm home on Dark Power to just edge ahead of Godolphin’s Mubtasim and Glorious Journey. It was second consecutive win for Bahrain, the glory this time going to Sheikh Issa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Al Adiyat Racing, who pocket the $600,000 winner’s prize.
The highly-anticipated Longines Turf Handicap, the last of the day’s turf races, once again provided an unlikely winner, Olivier Peslier riding Call The Wind to victory for trainer Freddy Head.
Mekong and Price of Arran finished in second and third.
“It showed how good he is,” Head said of winning horse Call The Wind. “He was able to quicken on that ground, I wasn’t sure he would do that. I know that horse is not easy, he’s not an easy horse to ride. From going well, then he’s got nothing then he goes well. He’s bit of lazy, lazy horse, but Olivier gave him a great, great ride.”
“It’s great moment,” he added. “As a trainer you dream of winning races like that, I mean it’s history.”
The day’s fourth race, The Obaiya Arabian Classic, marked the halfway point of the day and it proved an exciting race for the fans of purebred Arabian in the crowd as Tallaab Al Khalediah stormed the 2,000m (1mile and 2 furlongs) on dirt to win ahead of Hajjres and Mashhur Al Khalediah.


Formula One comes back to the track with Aramco as sponsors amid new coronavirus lockdown era

Updated 05 July 2020

Formula One comes back to the track with Aramco as sponsors amid new coronavirus lockdown era

  • The return to the track for F1 will also mark a first for Saudi Aramco that are sponsoring the global event
  • Lando Norris secured a career-best fourth place on the grid for McLaren for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix

DUBAI: Sunday will see the return of Formula One with the first race of the season since the coronavirus pandemic hit the world and closed the sport down.

The return to the track for F1 will also mark a first for Saudi Aramco that are sponsoring the global event.

“We are thrilled to be sponsoring Formula 1. Millions of people around the world saw Aramco’s branding along the racing circuit today for the first time,” read a statement from the Saudi oil giant.

“As the world’s largest energy supplier and an innovation leader, our ambition is to find game-changing solutions for better, more efficiently performing engines and cleaner energy. Partnerships such as this are important to help us to deliver this goal.”

 

Video courtesy of Aramco 

Lando Norris secured a career-best fourth place on the grid for McLaren for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix and admitted he had exceeded his own expectations.
The 20-year-old Briton qualified behind the pace-setting Mercedes pairing of pole sitter Valtteri Bottas and six-time champion Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, but ahead of both Ferraris and other strong rivals including Racing Point's speedy ‘pink Mercedes’ cars.
“We had our expectations of where we thought we wanted to be and from the very beginning the Racing Points have clearly been extremely quick,” said Norris, who is embarking on his second F1 season.
“We never thought we’d be in a chance of beating them or getting close to them so we are delighted with this and with the car performance.
“The car started to come alive and feel better and better as it went to lower fuel levels and this track was very good for us last year. So we have confidence in the car and feel it suits us at the moment.
“Hopefully, the race goes well and we have two (consecutive) weekends of this and, hopefully, we can repeat it as well.”
Norris will start the race - his and the sport’s first F1 race for 216 days - alongside Verstappen with Alex Albon in the second Red Bull and Racing Point's Sergio Perez behind him.
His Ferrari-bound McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz qualified eighth.

(With AFP)