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Mixed draw for UAE runners for Saudi Cup

Mixed draw for UAE runners for Saudi Cup

It was a mixed draw for UAE runners with some getting a favourable one and some not, for the first ever Saudi Cup, on Wednesday.

The Post Position Draw for the inaugural Saudi Cup, at $20 million, dubbed the world's most valuable horse race took place at the Clubhouse of the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, and it threw up interesting scenarios.

Godolphin's Benbatl, at 125, the highest rated horse in the 14-horse field, will break from stall 3, in the race to be held on Saturday night.

Saddled by Saeed bin Suroor, Benbatl has racked up more than $5.7 million after winning races in the UAE, Australia and Germany.

Benbatl, the son of Dubawi, has won 10 in 20 starts but this would be his biggest yet. And Saeed bin Suroor hoped so too.

"It would mean a lot for us to win," bin Suroor had said ahead of the draw.

"It is the first ever Saudi Cup and the first big international race in Saudi. I'm very happy with him and I think he will give it a good run," added the Emirati.

Meanwhile, the other Emirati trainer Salem bin Ghadayer is double handed with Dubai World Cup runner-up Gronkowski and Capezzano featuring in the race.

Bin Ghadayer was pleased after Gronkowski was drawn on stall five but not quite about Capezzano, who will break from a distant 13.

"It is mixed emotions. It is 50:50," Bin Ghadayer told reporters on Wednesday.

"Draw 13 is a little bit far. But maybe we could have a little bit of a chance on the long straight before the bend. So, we have a chance to get our position, what we need. It is a faraway draw but we must forget now and we must start preparing the horse for the race. At the end of the day, it is what it is and we have to accept. So, we are going to work with it," he added.

Regarding Gronkowski, he said: "Gronkowski drew five so it is a nice draw. And I think he should be very close to the pace. We will see," said Bin Ghadayer.

The race will be contested over 1800 metres on dirt and Bin Ghadayer was pleased with the track.

"Regarding the track, there is nothing more to say. Everything is excellent. Very good service, good track and we will try our best."

Meanwhile, Satish Seemar's North America will break from Gate four.

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