Life Is Good is among 700+ nominations for Saudi Cup meet

Life Is Good is among 700+ nominations for Saudi Cup meet
Photo: Casey Phillips/Eclipse Sportswire

The 2022 Saudi Cup meeting has attracted more than 700 nominations from 22 countries, including 71 international Group 1 winners like Life Is Good and Mandaloun. They are vying to pick up some of the $35.1 million prize money across the two-day meet Feb. 25 and 26.

Reigning Saudi Cup champion Mishriff already has achieved impressive career earnings of $15 million, a figure that leaves him ninth in the list of highest earning Thoroughbreds.

If he were to record a second successive triumph in the third running of the 1 1/8-mile, $20 million Saudi Cup (G1), he would become the highest-earning racehorse ever, eclipsing Australian wonder-mare Winx.

There is a strong U.S. contingent with more than 150 entries, including a number of high-profile contenders for The Saudi Cup. Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victor Life Is Good has been nominated. Other possible runners from the U.S. include Hot Rod Charlie, Mandaloun and Midnight Bourbon.

Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Knicks Go, fourth in last year’s race, also was listed, but he is being retired after this month's $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1).

Japan, a country that won two races on last year’s Saudi Cup card, is responsible for more than 90 entries at the meeting. It is set to be represented in the Saudi Cup by T O Keynes, most recently seen landing the Champions Cup (G1). Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Marche Lorraine is another who could take her place in the $20 million contest.

South American standout Aero Trem, currently in Dubai, has been nominated as have European Group 1 winners Sealiway, Skaletti and Pyledriver.

In the six-furlong, $1.5 million Riyadh Dirt Sprint, also on Feb. 26, the U.S. looks to hold a strong hand with Grade 1 winners Dr. Schivel and Kimari and Grade 3 victor Cézanne. Middle East-based 9-year-old Secret Ambition could line up as could last year’s winner Copano Kicking for Japan.

The one-mile, $1.5 million Saudi Derby (G3) has lured American nominees Smile Happy, Newgrange, Mackinnon and Rockefeller.

Other American nominees on the undercard include two-time Grade 1 winner Colonel Liam for the 1 5/16-mile, $1.5 million Neom Turf Cup (G3) and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint runner-up Lieutenant Dan in the 6 ½-furlong, $1.5 million 1351 Turf Sprint (G3).

The highlight of Feb. 25 is the International Jockeys Challenge, in which seven female and seven male jockeys from around the world compete against each other. Last year’s winner Shane Foley from Ireland is back to defend his crown. Other jockeys confirmed are the Britain’s Hayley Turner and Glen Boss from Australia.

The full book of nominations, known as entries in Saudi Arabia, may be viewed here.

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