The John Gosden trained Mishriff (IRE), who is named after his owner Prince A A Faisal’s best friend, went one better than his second place finish in last year’s Saudi Derby when he caught Charlatan (USA) in the final 100m to win the US $20 million The Saudi Cup, the world’s most valuable race.
According to Arabia that ridden by the 21-year-old Irish jockey David Egan, he beat the Bob Baffert trained Charlatan by a length, with Great Scot (GB) finishing a further six and a half lengths back in third.
Drawn wide, the 4-year-old son of Make Believe got himself into a good position behind the leading pair of Charlatan and Knicks Go (USA), who set a good pace. Launched in the final bend, Mishriff picked up the grey Knicks Go, who would eventually finish in fourth position, fairly easily and then went after Charlatan.
Big-race rider Mike Smith was hard at work on Charlatan but could do nothing against a determined Mishriff, who covered the 1800 metres on the King Abdulaziz dirt track in 1:49.59.
Egan, who is the retained jockey of Prince Faisal, had not been able to partner the colt when he lifted the Prix du Jockey Club – the French Derby – in June last year, because of travel restrictions due to Covid-19 and was obviously delighted to win this important race. His father John Egan, himself an accomplished Group 1 winning jockey, was there to witness his son’s greatest success.
Egan said: “Unbelievable. I’ve been dreaming all my life of winning a race like this. Obviously it is the highest thing I will win for a while now; the Saudi Cup is the richest race in the world. I’d like to thank Prince Faisal, Mr Gosden, all of his team, Thady is here, Ted Voute – there are so many people to thank, and Mishriff most of all. He’s the champion.
“I’d like to thank The Saudi Cup for putting on such a great event in these tough times and for making everything as Covid-safe as we could all be. I’m just delighted to get back on Mishriff and win for all the team.
John Gosden, trainer, Mishriff said: “Full marks to my team. I’m here in Newmarket. His owner/breeder always wanted him to come back for The Saudi Cup. He ran well here last year and through the year except for at Ascot on bottomless ground – he didn’t like that ground. Otherwise he has a superb record. The team here did a very good job with him through the winter and then Thady (Gosden, son and assistant trainer) and the team did a great job out there.”
Asked whether Mishriff will be asked to stretch out to 2400m this summer in Europe, Gosden added: “He will stay. I think in the end he nailed them because he could go the pace and then see it out to the end, and that was a hard-run mile and an eighth. We’ll see. Thady will come back with his reports and we will discuss it all with Prince Faisal and take it a step at a time after a flight like that and training through the winter. We’ll see how he is when he gets back before we make any grand plans.”
Ted Voute, representative of owner Prince Faisal, said: “He was raised on the farm, Prince Faisal bred him. I bought the sire Make Believe as a foal for him. He’s bred the family all through the years and it means a lot to him. He was named after his best friend after he died. It’s amazing.”
Tom Ryan, co-owner of Charlatan, said: “I think he ran a very brave race. It’s a very long stretch and he got ran down on the wire. After this, we’ll look to getting ourselves home and then talk to Bob and the team in the coming days and decide what we’ll do.”