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Soft Whisper taking Saudi Derby plunge

Saeed bin Suroor has explained his thinking behind taking on the boys in the Saudi Derby this weekend with his exciting filly Soft Whisper – who will have the assistance of American riding great Mike Smith.

A seven-length winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas last time out, the daughter of Dubawi has skipped the seemingly easier option of the UAE Oaks this week to make the short journey to Riyadh.

She will arrive in Saudi on a five-timer – but faces a stern rival in the shape of Charlie Appleby’s Rebel’s Romance, among others.

“She won well in the Guineas so we’re going to let her take her chance in the big race in Saudi,” said Bin Suroor.

“We’ll see how she does in a race like that. She’s done well since the Guineas, she’s in good form and we want to see how she gets on against the better horses.

“By running her in this we’ll see how good she is.

“After this we have the option of running her in the UAE Derby, that’s another option after this race.

“She’s exciting, we’re looking forward to seeing her run.”

On jockey arrangements, Bin Suroor said: “We booked Mike Smith because he was coming over (to ride Charlatan in the Saudi Cup) and he was available.

“Obviously if you can get a jockey like him, you do. Frankie (Dettori) is riding (New Treasure) for Mr (John) Gosden.”

Chapple-Hyam happy to let Albadri take shot at Saudi Derby

Jane Chapple-Hyam believes she has nothing to lose by running Albadri in the Saudi Derby this weekend.

The three-year-old will be among the outsiders in a race with $1.5million in prize money on offer – but he at least arrives there having won last time out, to supplement his 100-1 win on his debut.

Chapple-Hyam took him to Southwell last month in an attempt to replicate the dirt surface he will face in the Middle East.

“We might be a 100-1 shot, but we got an invitation so may as well give it a go,” said the Suffolk trainer.

“He went on the nearest I could find to dirt in England – which is Southwell. Hollie (Doyle) was pleased with him, and he won.

“He’s going out in really good order, and I’m flying out there tonight (Monday).

“It’s very competitive, but every now and again you’ve got to dip your toe in the deep end.

“It’s not a massive field – and because we got the invite, the owners were keen, so why not?”

Chapple-Hyam has always had a high opinion of Albadri, so is happy to give him another opportunity to prove her right.

She added: “Hopefully we can finish in the prize money – which would help – and he’s come out of his race at Southwell very well, and he went into that needing it. He’ll have been about 85 per cent fit, so he’s bang on song now.

“We’ve always liked him. I’ve always felt he would make up into a 100-rated horse, so he needs to prove that on Saturday.

“They’ll go quick, with the Americans and Japanese. When he won on debut he came from off the pace, but he made the running last time – so he’s versatile.

“Hollie rode him in the Horris Hill and got a really good feel off him that day, which is important to me because she believes in the horse. Hollie’s on again.”

Chapple-Hyam eyeing Saudi and UAE Derby options for Albadri

Albadri could be heading to the Middle East for a big objective following his victory in the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Handicap at Southwell.

The Dandy Man colt has entries in the Saudi Derby at Riyadh next month and the UAE Derby at Meydan in March and Jane Chapple-Hyam is hoping to get an invitation for one of them.

The Newmarket trainer took Albadri to the Nottinghamshire venue whto give him experience of the Fibresand surface as it is the closest to dirt in the UK.

Albadri had been highly-tried in Pattern company after scoring at odds of 100-1 on his debut at Windsor in August, but had run respectably at Group Three and Listed level in four attempts.

His final outing of 2020 was in the Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury where he was sixth to Mujbar, beaten less than four lengths.

Top weight of 9st 7lb was no hindrance to Albadri (9-4) as he made all the running over the one-mile trip in the hands of Hollie Doyle. Never in any danger of defeat, he crossed the line a length ahead of Apatite.

“He’s been running in Group races and so he was top weight for a reason,” said Chapple-Hyam.

“The horse has done the talking and done it nicely. He’s got a Saudi Derby and a UAE Derby entry, so whichever one will take him, he’ll go.

“It’s never any harm putting them up at Southwell because it’s the most similar surface you’ll get to dirt.

“I was happy to run there with top weight. He’d worked well at home leading into that race today and we’ll see who wants to accept us – UAE or Saudi.

“That’s been our goal since he ran at Newbury to be in either Derby.”