The undercard on Saudi Cup Day is incredible, including the $2.5 million Red Sea Turf and the 1351 Turf Sprint.
It all leads to the $20 million Saudi Cup where the Americans have a strong charge, but bettors get an excellent chance to build the balance beforehand.
Horse racing odds are available for the major races on the Saudi Arabia card.
Godolphin Trio Target Red Sea
There are three Godolphin runners entered in the Red Sea Turf and all three are from different stables.
Headlining the trio is the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Desert Fire, who won the Grade II Al Rashidiya at Meydan last start.
It was a professional victory from the five-time winner, who has form around some smart types.
British-based trainer Charlie Appleby usually has a say in the big races and he lines up the promising Siskany, who won the Al Khail Trophy at Meydan.
It was only his fifth career start after placing in the Wild Flower Stakes at Kempton Park, so despite having not faced top-level opposition, he has massive upside.
The third Godolphin-owned runner is Dubai Future, who finished fourth behind Siskany in the Al Khail Trophy. It was a solid effort following a win in the Dubai Racing Club Classic, so the son of Dubawi is a nice type.
However, all three Godolphin runners could be chasing in vain as Sonnyboyliston could be the testing material.
The Irish St. Leger winner has won three of his last four starts and Irish form stacks up nicely on the turf. Trainer Johnny Murtagh said he looks strong for the $2.5 million feature.
“We had a great end to the season with him last year, but he has done really well over the winter, and he definitely strengthened up on his break and looks strong,” Murtagh told Daily Racing Form.
Sonnyboyliston is our top pick and he should be well-fancied in betting online markets.
Naval Crown an Anchor in 1351 Sprint
The 1351 Sprint is wide-open for the most part, but we are backing Charlie Appleby’s Naval Crown.
He is a 4-year-old colt who finished third in the UAE Guineas before winning the Meydan Classic. He then returned home to finish fourth in the 1000 Guineas behind Poetic Flare, which is an excellent form guide.
We weren’t sure what to make of his eighth in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville, but his rebounding win in the Al Fahidi Fort was good to see.
Looking to upset the likely favorite is Casa Creed, who is the sole American runner in the 1351 Sprint.
Casa Creed has solid wins on the board, including victories in the Jaipur Invitational and Elusive Quality at Belmont.
His effort behind Space Blues in the Breeders’ Cup Mile was only fair, but dropping in distance should be right up his alley.
The William Mott-trained 6-year-old has struggled in the biggest sprint races, but it’s not for a lack of trying. He’s good enough to test the likes of Naval Crown, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him figure in the finish.
It could pay to watch the sportsbook for any late betting moves on Casa Creed.
Pick: Naval Crown
Nothing But Net for Ginobili
Looking to secure some Saudi Arabian riches is American hopeful Ginobili, who is favored to win the Riyadh Dirt Sprint.
The Richard Baltas-trained gelding won the Pat O’Brien Handicap in August before running second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile behind Life is Good.
He wasn’t able to fire in the Cigar Mile, but despite reports suggesting the drop in distance won’t help, we think it could switch him on.
“I turned him out and we did a minor surgery [ankle chip] on him and gave him some time and brought him back as much sounder horse as a 4-year-old,” Baltas said.
Bettors should get value odds for the favorite in what is an open race. Look for Ginobili to take a forward position and attempt to run them into the ground.