The smile on the face of co-owner Khalid bin Mishref said it all as it was revealed he’d drawn Gronkowski to run from post five for the inaugural Saudi Cup.
Mishref and fellow owners Phoenix Thoroughbreds were delighted with the draw for their star runner ahead of Saturday’s first running of the World’s richest race and greeted the news with a round of applause.
Saudi native Mishref know’s the course at the King Abdulaziz Race Track well having tasted plenty of success as an owner there in the past.
“I was hoping from four to seven, so thank God I got the best result,” he said. “I believe he’ll do his best, he looks good as an individual and I’m pleased we have the top horses here.”
Gronkowski, who has raced in England, the USA and most recently the UAE arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday following the short flight from his Dubai base. Trainer Salem bin Ghadayer and his team were on hand to welcome last season’s Dubai World Cup runner-up and get him settled in his new surroundings. As is his way the son of Lonhro showed no signs of having travelled and immediately got down to one of his favourite past times, eating!
“Gronkowski drew five so it is a nice draw.” Said Ghadayer. “I think he should be very close to the pace but we will see.”
It was revealed last week that one of the World’s most famous riders Frankie Dettori will take the ride on the colt for the first time, not only for Saturday’s race but for the Dubai World Cup. Also no stranger to riding in Riyadh, Dettori’s experience of the track is likely to be invaluable.
“I’m excited to ride him for two reasons.” Dettori told the Phoenix Thoroughbreds Website last week. “First, he doesn’t have to travel that far from Dubai and I think the track will suit him. It’s probably the best dirt track I’ve ridden anywhere in my life. It’s got the longest straight; he’ll relish that and is the type of horse that will enjoy the Riyadh track.”
The Saudi Cup is due off at 8:40pm local time on February 29.