Mishriff stuns American duo and wins the 2021 Saudi Cup

Trainer John Gosden trained the Saudi Cup winner Mishriff
Trainer John Gosden trained the Saudi Cup winner Mishriff

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The second Saudi Cup saw a potential 'Clash of the Titans' as the front-running duo of Knicks Go and Charlatan faced off in Riyadh at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack. The two American horses had been established as the favorites in the betting market pretty much from the moment their connections said they would be sending the duo out to the Middle East. Knicks Go was coming off the back of a four-race winning streak including the Grade I Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and the Pegasus World Cup. Charlatan had a long layoff in 2020 having been at the forefront of the Triple Crown minds but a victory in the Grade I Malibu at Santa Anita brought him back towards being a front-runner for the big four-year-old races.

Charlatan and Knicks Go went to the front from the start as the two red hot favorites decided to take each other on at the front - just as our in-house handicapper predicted in his preview. It was written up as a battle of the two and through the opening part of the race there wasn't anyone else involved. Irish horse Mishriff was hovering around and as they went around the final turn Knicks Go fell away and Mike E. Smith on Charlatan looked in prime position to get away and take out the race for Bob Baffert.

Yet Mishriff wasn't done and as they hit the stretch it was a two-horse race and the big question was whether Charlatan had the stamina to hold off the strong challenge from the Emerald Isle. with 200 metres to go Charlatan still had the lead but with 100 metres left in the race, it was roles reversed.and victory went to Mishriff and a bumper payout for those who backed him.

It looked evident that the plan by Mike E. Smith was to take out Knicks Go early with a hard pace believing that he was the key opposition but all that did was allow David Egan aboard Mishriff to slipstream into the back straight. He said after the race that he knew he needed a good jump and was surprised that his horse was able to keep up with the two early leaders but once he got up to speed after the kick from Knicks Go and Charlatan, he travelled extremely well.

The big question for Mishriff's connections now are whether they point him towards the Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar in November. Charlatan's strong run probably keeps him very much in the mix for that race. The disappointing performance was certainly by Knicks Go but a bit of a refresh could still have him in the Classic mix for that race is still the best part of nine months away.

One of the big questions on the minds of fans of the sport is whether or not the winner will get their share of the purse. Last year Maximum Security was the first past the post but following the federal charges filed against the then trainer of the horse Jason Servis - the Saudi Jockey Club decided not to payout pending an investigation - which still on the day of the 2021 edition - had not been resolved. Midnight Bisou finished second last year and her connections could be in-line for a bumper payout depending on that decision.

A non-American winner was not expected but there is little doubt Mishriff did not luck into this victory. He always looked relatively comfortable behind the top two going into the race and when he had to kick, the four-year-old had just enough speed and just enough stamina to make it to the line and deliver a victory for trainer John Gosden.

Mishriff paid out a very very nice $41.60 for the win with Charlatan $3.00 for the place and a late-charging Great Scot making it a very nice show payout of $27.40. The $2 Exacta paid out $39.20 and if you were on the $0.50 Trifecta then your betting account will be $1,219.15 richer.

Saudi Cup 2021 Results & Payouts
  • Position
  • Horse
  • Win
  • Place
  • Show


  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.


  • Mishriff
  • Charlatan
  • Great Scot


  • $41.60


  • $12.80
  • $3.00


  • $6.40
  • $2.40
  • $27.40
Breeders' Cup Classic Odds
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