In the days leading up to the $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 20, usracing.com will profile the contenders in the world’s richest horse race. The profiles will be updated with odds, post positions and jockeys following the post-position draw on Wednesday [Feb. 17].
By Lynne Snierson
It was a bit of a surprise that Imad Al Sagar’s homebred Extra Elusive got his invitation to the event, but now that he has, his connections are good to go in this spot rather than run in the Middle Distance Turf on the undercard.
“Having discussed it with the owner, he’s very keen to run in it,” trainer Roger Charlton told race officials. “Over 1,800 meters they’ll go very, very quick and the kickback will be something he hasn’t experienced before. We’re hoping we can get amongst the money.”
“In the past he has inclined to be up at the front making the running – this obviously won’t be the case so a wider draw would probably be beneficial to keep him out of the kickback.”
Rising star Hollie Doyle, who has been aboard for Extra Elusive’s last four starts, will partner with him again.
“I’d like to think he’ll handle the dirt as he goes well on slow ground here in England. I’m not sure how similar it would ride to a slow turf track, but I’d prefer to ride him on the dirt than I would on the turf as you’d imagine it will be slower,’’ said the 24-year-old, who broke her own British record for a female jockey with 117 wins in 2020 and notched her first Royal Ascot victory and first Grade 1 win.
Extra Elusive won two Grade 3’s last summer under Doyle. Last out he was sixth in the Qipco Champion Stakes (G1) at Ascot in October and the trip note said that he made no impression in the final furlong.
“He had a break after the end of last season and the weather hasn’t been very helpful to us – we’ve had snow here twice,’’ Charlton said. “He didn’t resume exercise until after Christmas and it’s been a steady build-up. He does all his training by himself, but he seems in good form. It’s important that he’s in a consistent and steady routine every day.”
2021 Saudi Cup Pick: Extra Elusive
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Roger Charlton
Jockey: Hollie Doyle
Owner: Imad Al Sagar
Age: 6 (gelding)
Career record: 16-5-4-2
Career earnings: $111,456 (British pound sterling)
Top Equibase speed figure: N/A
Pedigree: Mastercraftsman-Nessina, by Hennessy
Running style: Frontrunner
Notes: Imad Al Sagar is a Kuwaiti native holding executive positions in the insurance and gas and oil industries in the Middle East. With longtime friend Saleh Al Homaizi, who got him into the sport, he established the England-based Blue Diamond Racing and Blue Diamond Stud in 2010. Blue Diamond has enjoyed enormous success in just a decade, winning multiple G1 races in Europe, including the Epsom Derby, and owning a Cartier Award winner…He has about 30 horses in training with Charlton, John Gosden, Roger Varian, and Amy Murphy and all are by top sires …Retaining Doyle as stable rider is viewed as a career defining move for her … She competes in the International Jockey
Challenge the day before the Saudi Cup … Charlton is based at Beckhampton Stables in England and has trained two Epsom Derby winners and 17 G1 winners.
2021 Saudi Cup Picks: