France promises to be well represented in the Obaiya Arabian Classic
The Obaiya Arabian Classic, part of the Saudi Cup card on February 20th, has been accorded PA Listed status after being upgraded this week by the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities. The 2,000m (10f) dirt race, whose purse has risen from $1.9 million to $2 million since its inception last year, is the world's richest race for PA horses. The Obaiya Arabian Classic is the first race on the Saudi Cup card to be awarded black-type status. Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, the President of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, hopes that this is a sign of things to come for the other English thoroughbred races on the Saudi Cup card. He said: "This is incredibly exciting news for the Saudi Cup. We are delighted that the Obaiya Arabian Classic race has achieved this status in such a short time. Our goal is to continually improve international racing in the Kingdom, which entails attracting the best PA and English thoroughbred horses in the world. The fact that the Obaiya Arabian Classic has secured Listed status in only its second year is a great first step towards realising our ambitions of having international Group racing across the card, and seeing Saudi Arabia being promoted to a top level racing nation by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.”
The totality of the Saudi Cup entries can be accessed by clicking the following link: https://thesaudicup.com.sa/sc2021_entries.pdf
Earmarked for the trip. Seven French PA horses are potential contenders, including Jarif (Dahess), Kair Al Cham (Dahess) and Nijinski Al Maury (Amer). Didier Guillemin is also expected to make the trip with Deryan (Mahabb). This follows his charge’s second at Pau on January 14th and he said: "Deryan will contest the Saudi Cup. He ran well today but the pace wasn't strong enough for him. He raced keenly and, at the half-way stage, his jockey had to take him in hand. He’s a somewhat delicate horse and a bit less brave than in the past." Frédéric Sanchez has entered Hayyan (Munjiz), but he isn’t expected to travel to Saudi Arabia. Élisabeth Bernard has three entries: Jaazmah Athbah (Jalnar Al Khalidiah), Jarif (Dahess) and Hajres (Nizam), second in the Obaiya Arabian Classic last year. She told us on January 14th: "Not all of my trio will be invited, and that’s for certain, considering the calibre of this year’s entries. However, I'll put my skates on should an invite materialise! I loved the experience last year. In fact, I made the trip with Hajres, who finished second. The prize money levels are extraordinary."
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