We are just days away from the inaugural Saudi Cup with its world record $20 million prizemoney purse.
And this morning, Godolphin has announced that one of their biggest stars, BENBATL (Dubawi-Nahrain) will contest the great event.
Which means Australia, in its own way, will have a pair of stars we know and can cheer for.
Benbatl, who has won Gr 1 races in 3 different countries including Australia when he took out the Caulfield Stakes, will face off against MAGIC WAND (Galileo-Prudenzia) who won the Gr 1 MacKinnon Stakes at Flemington last year.
Both gallopers are superstars over 2000m.
Magic Wand has won Gr 1 races in 2 countries, here and England, but has gone oh so close to more with Gr 1 runner-up efforts in Ireland, the United States, France and Hong Kong.
With both of them now guaranteed a start in the field, they will be taking on American superstar and ‘ousted’ Kentucky Derby winner MAXIMUM SECURITY. But a story inside the great race story is the rekindling of the old adversary clashes of Godolphin vs Coolmore. Magic Wand is owned by Coolmore.
Neither have raced each other as yet.
Benbatl comes off a last start runaway Gr 2 win….on dirt in the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan racetrack. That was his first go on the dirt and he won by a huge margin.
Magic Wand was runner-up, again, last start this time in one of the world’s richest races The Pegasus in the United States.
The Saudi Cup will be held this weekend; 29 February, at the King Abdulaziz race course in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Other runners in the race include 2018 Belmont Stakes runner-up GRONKOWSK; multiple US Gr 1 winner McKINZIE, Japan’s star Gr 1 performer GOLD DREAM; and America’s Champion Female MIDNIGHT BIJOU as well as multiple Gr 1 placed 3YO TACITUS. He’s the grey horse who placed in all the legs of the Triple Crown last year.
Oh, and don’t forget – while we cheer on Magic Wand and Benbatl, the mare was beaten out of a place in our Gr 1 Cox Plate last year and Benbatl was trounced by the freak, Winx, the only time they clashed
If they show up in the finish it will be a massive bolstering of our position on the world stage.