Saudi Cup Betting Tips – 29th February 2020

Map of Saudi Arabia

The International racing scene certainly isn’t short of high value mega events; from the Everest and Melbourne Cup in Australia, to the Breeders’ Cup meeting in the USA, and on to the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup, the season offers a steady stream of quality events in which the best of the equine talent can do battle for the really big bucks.

Topping all of the above though – at least when judged solely in terms of the prize money on offer – is the newest international showstopper of them all: the Saudi Cup. Making it’s debut in 2020 and held at Riyadh in late February, this 1m1f event sees the cream of the middle distance performers do battle for a whopping total purse of $20 million – that’s close to double the amount on offer over the whole of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting!

The course at Riyadh does boast both a turf and a dirt track, but in common with other major international races around the world, for example the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup, it is the dirt track which will stage the meeting’s signature event. Such a surface has generally proven to be a big advantage to the US horses in other events, and no doubt the top US trainers will be hoping that will also be the case here.

Saudi Cup Betting Tips For 2020

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday 29th February

Undoubtedly one of the biggest additions to the racing scene in the 21st century, and the biggest ever in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by some margin, the event seems sure to be popular with owners, trainers and fans alike. Here we take a look at this year’s main contenders.

Maximum Security – 11/4

The one they all have to beat according to the market this year is the US raider Maximum Security. Recently purchased by Michael Tabor and co, this four year old by New Year’s Day would look to have live claims of carrying those famous blue and orange silks into the winners’ enclosure on the big stage once again.

Six from eight in his career to date, that record would read even better but for a slightly unfortunate disqualification in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Whilst he may have been demoted to 17th in that Churchill Downs event in the end, the manner in which he outstayed his rivals to assert late on in that 1m2f contest augurs well for his chances in what seems sure to be a true test at the trip. This Jason Servis-trained runner looks like putting on a bold show on the front end.

McKinzie – 3/1

When it comes to the absolute top-level middle-distance dirt contests, the one trainer you want on your side more than any other is likely the legendary US handler, Bob Baffert. The winner of five Kentucky Derbies, three Breeders’ Cup Classics, three Dubai World Cups and two Pegasus World Cups, Baffert is a major threat to all wherever he shows up.

Baffert has two amongst the final fourteen for this race, and whilst the four year old Mucho Gusto isn’t dismissed lightly on the back of a big career best last time out, it is Breeder’s Cup runner up, McKinzie, who would look to boast the more solid claims.

McKinzie travelled like a dream in that Breeders’ Cup Classic event, and whilst he didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages, it did appear that his stamina gave out close to home in that 1m2f contest. As such this drop back in trip looks to be firmly in his favour. Already a dual winner at the distance having landed the Pennsylvania Derby and Whitney Stakes, he looks a solid bet to go well.

Benbatl – 13/2

Flying the flag for team Godolphin is the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Benbatl. Having readied Thunder Snow to peak on the big day in each of the past two Dubai World Cups, the Newmarket-based handler is a man to be feared in events such as this, and may just have the right ammunition once again in this son of super-sire Dubawi.

Three times a Grade/Group 1 winner at around this trip, the six year old arrives at the top of his game having landed each of his two starts in 2020 in fairly impressive style. Another thing he has in his favour is a proven ability to handle the surface – often not the case with the European runners – having landed a Group 2 dirt contest at Meydan last time out. He looked to be well within himself at the line to our eyes that day, and is well worth his place in this line-up.

Capezzano – 8/1

The pick of the United Arab Emirates based runners would look to be the mount of Mikael Barzalona – Capezzano. Formerly with Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, this son of Bernardini didn’t pull up any trees at his former yard, with his only win coming in a fairly lowly seven furlong maiden at Meydan. That win did at least show that he may be worth persevering with on dirt though, and this season he has finally delivered on the big stage.

Joining his current trainer in March 2019, the gelding has landed two of his three starts since. Firstly, when slamming Thunder Snow in a Group 1 back at Meydan and latterly, when sauntering clear in a Group 3 at that same track. He did finish last of 12 in the Dubai World Cup in between those efforts, but was found to be lame after the race. He may well be up to this, particularly if able to lead.

Chrysoberyl – 10/1

Travelling over from Japan for the inaugural running of this event is the Hidetaka Otonashi trained four year old, Chrysoberyl. Unbeaten in five career starts – all of which have come in his native Japan – it’s hard to know exactly how good his form is. In fairness to the horse though, he can have done no more than beat the 56 rivals to have been put in front of him to date, and beat them with the minimum of fuss too.

Thoroughly proven on a dirt surface, and arriving on the back of a first career top level success, he looks one of the more interesting contenders at a double figure price, with the excellent Christophe Soumillon taking over in the saddle.


About the Saudi Cup

View Over Riyadh City

Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in sport in recent years, with the intention of attracting investment into the country and also improving its reputation internationally.

The region has a rich history in horse breeding and racing dating back hundreds of years and from 2020 Saudi Arabia will also be home to the world's richest race, the Saudi Cup which is worth an incredible $20 million alone.

The Saudi Cup itself will form the climax to a two day meeting at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Cup Race List

As we mention above, the Saudi Cup is part of a two day meeting. The races for the 2020 running are shown below.

Race (Distance)Prize MoneyAgesSurface
Day One – Kingdom day
Saudi Bred Maiden (7f) $21,500 3 Years Old Dirt
Equestrian Club Award Open (7f) $33,500 4 Years Old Dirt
International Jockeys Challenge Award Handicap (7f) $400,000 4 Years Old + Dirt
Imported and Saudi-bred Handicap (1m) $400,000 4 Years Old + Dirt
Equestrian Club Fillies Open (1m) $48,500 4 Years Old + Dirt
International Jockeys Challenge Handicap (1m 1f) $400,000 4 Years Old + Dirt
International Jockeys Challenge Handicap (6f) $400,000 3 Years Old Dirt
Equestrian Club Prize Open (1m) $32,500 3 Years Old Dirt
Day Two – Saudi Cup Day
Mohamed Yousuf Cup (1m 2 ½f) $1,000,000 4 Years Old + Turf
STC 1351 Cup (6f ¾f) $1,000,000 4 Years Old + Turf
Longines Handicap (1m 7f) $2,500,000 4 Years Old + Turf
Obaiya Arabian Classic (1m 2f) $1,900,000 4 Years Old + Dirt
Jockey Club Local Handicap (1m 1f) $500,000 4 Years Old + Dirt
Samba Saudi Derby (1m) $800,000 3 Years Old Dirt
Saudi Sprint (6f) $1,500,000 3 Years Old + Dirt
The Saudi Cup (1m 1f) $20,000,000 4 Years Old + Dirt