The world’s richest horse race once again captured global attention over the past weekend, as Japan was left celebrating one of its biggest triumphs to date. It was a memorable weekend of sport in Saudi Arabia, with Tommy Fury also capturing a career-defining victory over Jake Paul on Sunday in the country.
It was only further evidence that some of the biggest events in the nation were capturing global attention, but few would have been as popular with customers at the best sports betting site in Saudi Arabia as the lucrative Saudi Cup.
Japan Land Saudi Cup
A star-studded field lined up for the Saudi Cup this year, but it was Japanese joy in the end, as Panthalassa managed to resist the late challenge thrown down by last year’s Dubai World Cup winner Country Grammer. It was a mesmeric success for the 16/1 shot, as he just about finished three-quarters of a length clear of the American contender.
He finished the strongest of the Japanese competitors and stormed to a lucrative success in the final 100 yards. The six-year-old wasn’t considered to be one of the leading contenders before the off, with the top of the betting dominated by the American runners. However, it wasn’t to be a fairytale ending for Frankie Dettori on his final start in Saudi Arabia, as Country Grammer was just about beaten to the line.
America’s other main hope was much more disappointing, with one-time Kentucky Derby favorite, Taiba, finishing way back in eighth after struggling in the final two furlongs. It was a famous edition of the race for Japan, as the third, fourth, and fifth were also trained in the Asian country. Meanwhile, hometown chance and previous winner Emblem Road finished back in sixth for Moutaib Almulawah.
Another International Winner
The world’s richest horse race has been targeted for all international connections in recent years, which was evident by the fact that Japan became the fourth nation to claim victory in the race in as many years. America was the first nation to achieve success in 2020, as Maximum Security dominated the race for Jason Servis before British glory followed in 2021 as the talented Mishriff gave jockey David Egan his biggest career win to date.
Mishriff’s time of 1:49.59 remains the quickest of any previous winner, as he is the only winner to have won in under 1:50. In 2022, Emblem Road was a very popular local winner, but he was unable to become the first two-time winner of the race in 2023, as Japan landed yet another huge international prize on the calendar.
Japanese trainers will likely be targeting more international success as the season continues, with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe the big prize that they have their sights set on. More success at the Breeders’ Cup in November is also likely after a lack of runners in the 2022 edition at Keeneland.
Next Big International Showdown
The next big international showdown on the international calendar comes at the end of March, as the Dubai World Cup will feature some of the biggest stars in the world. The race will offer a $12 million purse and will see the field of international contenders compete over a total distance of 2,000 meters on the dirt. This race has been won by a plethora of greats throughout its history, including Cigar, Curlin, and Animal Kingdom.
History could be made in the 2023 edition of the race, as Country Grammer bids to become the second runner to win the Dubai World Cup on two occasions. The Bob Baffert runner will be the ride of Frankie Dettori on Dubai World Cup night, and the six-year-old certainly appears to be one of the leading contenders after his quick finish in the Saudi Cup.
Panthalassa will also bid to double up for Japan with another huge success, but the distance is likely to favor the American runners more in Dubai. Algiers also looks like a very solid contender for the British, as the six-year-old was a dominant six-length winner of the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge in Meydan before the Saudi Cup.
International Events Continue
The Saudi Cup is only the first of a busy few months in horse racing, with the Dubai World Cup set to entice a star-studded field. Meanwhile, domestic action also heats up as March gets underway, with the prestigious Cheltenham Festival taking center stage in the United Kingdom, and the Kentucky Derby kicks off the Triple Crown season in the United States in May.
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