Leading Saudi Arabian owner Khalid bin Mishref has bought into Dubai World Cup Second Gronkowski, owners Phoenix Thoroughbreds have confirmed.
Mr Mishref is no stranger to international ownership. A regular at the leading global sales, he has seen his green and white silks carried to victory in the US, UK and his native Saudi Arabia. The announcement is likely to spark some excitement in ‘KSA’ with the inaugural Saudi Cup named as one of the primary targets for Gronkowski as part of an ambitious campaign. A long-time friend and ally of his new partners, Mr Mishref aided Phoenix CEO Amer Abdulaziz on a fact-finding mission to Riyadh earlier this year as the group’s founder explored the possibilities of racing in ‘The Kingdom’.
“We are delighted to welcome Kahlid bin Mishref to the Phoenix Thoroughbreds team.” Said Abdulaziz. “We pride ourselves on our international growth and to have a man of Khalid’s experience joining the team at such an exciting stage of Gronkowski’s career is a major plus. Saudi Arabia is an ambitious racing nation with fantastic facilities, and this reaffirms our commitment to the sport in the country. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
For his part, Mr Mishref is eyeing a prosperous future with Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ star horse.
“It was an easy decision to invest with Phoenix Thoroughbreds,” explained the Saudi owner. “Not only is Gronkowski a world-class racehorse but Phoenix’s international ambitions mirror my own. A chance to be part of a horse of this calibre doesn’t come around that often so I was delighted to be given the opportunity. It’s very exciting to think he’ll be lining up in the Saudi Cup in front of Saudi racing fans. I’m sure that this we’ll be a very successful partnership.”
Now trained in Dubai by Salem bin Ghadayer, Gronkowski first came to prominence with a series of victories in the UK which earned him a place in the Kentucky Derby. A high temperature prevented him from taking up his engagement in the legendary Churchill Downs race with connections changing their focus to the Belmont Stakes. There, he would run triple-crown winner Justify very close before shipping to the UAE and going down by the narrowest of margins in the Dubai World Cup to the only dual-winner of the race Thunder Snow. It was immediately after that the team behind Phoenix nominated the Saudi Cup as a possible target as they chart a path back to the Meydan showpiece that also includes the Pegasus World Cup.