Baffert raider Pinehurst makes all in Saudi Derby

Bob Baffert’s Pinehurst made every yard of the running to win the Saudi Derby in Riyadh.

Having broke smartly from the stalls – as is the case with the majority of the US-trained runners – Pinehurst was soon in the box position under Flavien Prat.

He was able to dictate at his own pace for the majority of the race, although Consigliere and Sovereign Prince were always within striking distance.

Briefly Pinehurst looked in a spot of trouble but he dug deep to keep finding.

He had to hang on in the final 100 yards as the Japanese challenger Sekifu sprouted wings, having been a long way behind entering the straight, but the finishing post came just in time for Pinehurst.

Baffert’s assistant Jimmy Barnes said: “We came over with a serious horse and he seemed to handle everything well.

“He handled the ship over, the paddock, the preliminaries and the gate. He left the gate running so we couldn’t be happier.

“I didn’t know if he would hang on. It’s a closer’s track and luckily he had enough heart and stamina to hold off the Japanese horse.

“The plans were probably to go forward for the UAE Derby as long as he comes out of the race well.”

Prat said: “I thought his last race was a good set up for this race. He has shown he is a good horse today. It is just a matter how much he can improve so we’ll see.”

Baffert added: “It’s exciting to win after coming up short a couple of times over there. I hate when they show that 100 metre line on the screen because I’ve lost so much money in that last 100m at that track the past two years, but we got it done today. I think I carried him the last 100m.

“I think he could stretch out next. He’s a horse who went through a lull and we had to back off him a bit, but when we brought them back, he ran a great race (in the Grade Two San Vicente) last time.

“He’s tough and strong and I thought he was the kind of horse who could handle this kind of trip and that kind of track. He has a lot of quality and we haven’t seen the best yet of him. I think he will go to Dubai for the UAE Derby after this.”

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