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Gosden seeking high draw for Mishriff’s Saudi Cup challenge

John Gosden is hoping Mishriff will get a wide draw to help his chances in the Saudi Cup in Riyadh next month.

The son of Make Believe took to the dirt surface well when runner-up in the Saudi Derby over a mile last February from stall 12 of 13.

“He worked nicely going into it, but first time on the dirt, you never know. He did have the benefit of a wide draw last year and we were thrilled the way he ran,” said Gosden.

Mishriff, owned and bred by Prince Faisal, built on that run by winning his next three races, including the French Derby when stepped up to a mile and a quarter.

“I think he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse, very much so,” Gosden told a Saudi Cup press conference.

“He’s got a great stride, great tactical speed and a powerful finish. I think that is his perfect trip. Whether we stretch him out to a mile and a half one day, I don’t know.”

Gosden feels the nine-furlong one-bend showpiece will be run at an American pace, especially with Knicks Go and Charlatan likely to be in the line-up.

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“This race is run on the dirt and at a very different tempo. You need a wide draw,” he said.

“If it was a mile and quarter it would suit us a lot better, but it’s very fast. The Americans go hard and it’s not a race with any hiding places.

“He’s had a nice down time building up to this. He’s a genuine horse, he enjoys his training.

“He’s not a horse who requires a massive amount of work, so to that extent he’s the right type to get ready early in the year.”

David Egan is set to be reunited with Mishriff in the Saudi Cup
David Egan is set to be reunited with Mishriff in the Saudi Cup (Joe Giddens/PA)

David Egan, Prince Faisal’s retained jockey, will take the ride, having missed Mishriff’s last three races in 2020.

“He hadn’t have a great run of it, when he wanted to ride he was either suspended or he was stuck with all the quarantining,” said Gosden.

Frankie Dettori rides Global Giant for the Newmarket handler in the Middle Distance Turf Cup.

The combination went down by a neck in the valuable Bahrain International Trophy in November.

“He came back in great order and breezed nicely this (Wednesday) morning,” Gosden went on.

Global Giant and Frankie Dettori team up in the Middle Distance Turf Cup
Global Giant and Frankie Dettori team up in the Middle Distance Turf Cup (Steven Cargill/PA)

“The horse was as frustrated as the jockey and the owner and the trainer, but he got too far back and got there too late. The wire came up a stride and a half too soon, but that’s racing.

“He’s fine, he’s going for the Middle Distance. It will be a tough race. Distance-wise it’s probably the top end of his range.

“He’s got a very good chance and he’s in good form right now.”

Gosden goes for the Saudi Derby this year with New Treasure, a 90,000 guineas purchase at the Sales in November out of Jim Bolger’s stables in Ireland.

The former Jim Bolger-trained New Treasure runs for the John Gosden stable in the Saudi Derby
The former Jim Bolger-trained New Treasure runs for the John Gosden stable in the Saudi Derby (PA)

“He was in the horses-in-training sale and Jim was selling, so you have to have a sense of reality about that. He didn’t go for a great deal of money,” said Gosden.

“The horse came here and the owners wanted to aim him at this race.

“He won a Group Three (Round Tower Stakes) over six furlongs on soft ground. He’s not run over a mile before, but we’re hopeful he’ll get it.

“He’s on a one-way ticket. He races and stays there to race with the local horses.

“He’s very genuine and is a giver. He’s a fun horse to run in the race and it a great way of going down there – a Group Three winner and going for the Saudi Derby.”