‘Lively’ Saudi Cup Hero Mishriff Could Be Aimed At Juddmonte International After Dubai

The Saudi Cup winner Mishriff – fresh from landing the world’s most valuable race, – has the Juddmonte International at York as his main summer target following a return to turf in the Dubai Sheema Classic on March 27.

The Juddmonte International, a Group 1 prize over 2000m (1 1/4 miles) in August, is the chief aim for the John Gosden-trained colt, in what is expected to be a busy campaign for the 4-year-old before retiring to stud at the end of the British turf season.

Mishriff, who ran down American star Charlatan with a strong late charge to win the $20 million Saudi Cup last month, will next appear in the 2400m (1 1/2 miles) Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on March 27.

He is likely to have a break after that before heading to Royal Ascot and Gosden’s son Thady, who oversaw his preparation in Saudi Arabia, said: “To win a race of the caliber of The Saudi Cup was pretty wonderful for everyone involved. It was brilliant that the horse is owned by a local owner, Prince Faisal, and the home crowd were obviously thrilled.

“Charlatan had a lot more speed than us from the gate but David [Egan] gave him a brilliant ride to keep him close enough to the pace, which definitely helped.

“In America they have much shorter straights whereas in Saudi it is just one turn. They have that long, sweeping bend and then it’s a long way home. Horses like Charlatan wouldn’t be used to that.

“Obviously, Mishriff had a hard race in The Saudi Cup but he took the race well. Charlatan is a top-class horse so it was pretty tough running him down.

“He’s been working well and he seems happy. The whole journey and the travelling hasn’t taken much out of him.”

The decision to run Mishriff in the Dubai Sheema Classic instead of the Dubai World Cup means a return to turf and a first try at 2400m.

Gosden, who is to join his father on the licence at Clarehaven Stables as joint-trainer in the near future, doesn’t believe the step up in distance will be a problem.

He revealed: “There’s plenty of stamina in his pedigree and you’d think he might get it [the trip] on what he shows at home. The Sheema Classic is 2400m so we’ll find out what we suspect but we’ll know for sure afterwards.

“The dirt tracks in Saudi and Dubai are different surfaces. The turf horses seem to handle it better in Saudi so the dirt form might not necessarily translate to Meydan.”

There will be plenty of options in Europe for Mishriff during the British summer but Gosden was quick to nominate the Juddmonte International as an ideal target for the Saudi Cup hero.

He said: “The Juddmonte International is the premier 2000m race in the UK. York is a track that should suit him well as it’s a nice galloping 2000m.

“With the Juddmonte link with Prince Faisal and Saudi Arabia it’s another race I’m sure he’d like to target. Plenty of good horses have won it and it’s been a pretty good stallion making race over the years.

“Mishriff is definitely a horse who enjoys his racing, mentally he doesn’t seem to worry about it at all. He should be able to take plenty of racing this year.

“He’s a pretty lively character – he definitely likes to let you know he’s there but he’s very straightforward in his work. When you see him on the racetrack he holds his head quite low – he gets on with it and definitely enjoys it.”

When Mishriff is next seen on track in Britain, Gosden is likely to be given official recognition for his role at his father’s Newmarket stables. The 25-year-old will be joint-trainer after filling the role of assistant for the last five years.

He said: “It’s been in the pipeline a little while and we were working out a good time to do it. Everything unfortunately got pushed back a bit with Covid but hopefully it will all get sorted soon.

“Things are working fairly well at the moment so hopefully we can keep on going. It’s going incredibly smoothly – no speed bumps at all – and I’m obviously very fortunate to be in this position.”

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