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Taif News

Champion Owners, Trainer and Jockey Crowned on Conclusion of Taif Season

Monday, 9th October 2023, 4:00pm

SSaudi Arabia’s Ta’if racing season concluded last weekend with their 54th and final meeting.

The King Khalid Racecourse Championship, the final contest of 486 races, brought down the curtain on what was the biggest ever season of racing from King Khalid Racecourse.

The season’s finish saw the top jockey, top trainer, top Thoroughbred owner and top Purebred Arabian owner crowned.

The retained jockey for King Abdullah Bin Abdullah Aziz Sons, Camilo Ospina returned as the leading rider, winning 49 of his 286 rides for a strike rate of 17 percent. Ospina finished 12 wins clear of local rider, Adel Alfouraidi who ended the season on 37 winners.

Ahmed Mohamoud finished the season as leading trainer, having saddled a total of 33 winners, with notable successes coming in the Ta’if Flower Festival Cup, two JCSA Challenge races and a JCSA Award as well as the Ta’if Cup presented by Sports Boulevard with filly Taybah Fail.

The two-year-old’s victory was a significant one for owners, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Sons who finished the season as the leading Thoroughbred owners, achieving 46 wins over the course of the season, while the leading Purebred Arabian owner was Alkhalediah Stables with 22 winners, ahead of Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Sons with 15 wins.

It was Alkahlediah Stables that landed one of the feature races of the season, the Listed Prince Abdullah Alfaisal Cup (2 September), with their unbeaten superstar Purebred Arabian, Asfan Al Khalediah.

The four-year-old colt would go on to make it 10 career races unbeaten with victory in the Ta’if Arabian Horses Derby (23 September), lowering the 2000m track record at King Khalid Racecourse in the process with a winning time of 2:20.30.

On the same day, the second course record of the season fell as Qaswarat Al Khalediah won the JCSA Award over 1600m in a time of 1:49.52, while later on the same card, the Listed King Faisal Cup went the way of Nadem Al Molwk Al Khalediah who won for owner Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Sons.

The Ta’if Derby (22 September) was won by Final Destination, a colt by Havana Grey that was formerly trained by Kevin Philippart de Foy in the UK before transferring to the stable of Thamer Aldaihani.

Other notable imported horses included Sunset Flash, a seven-year-old daughter of Mayson, that finished down the field in the 2023 Saudi Cup but won three from three starts during the Ta’if season, including the King Khalid Racetrack Championship on her last start, while ex-Godolphin Path Of Thunder made a good start to his career in Saudi Arabia, winning a different division of the King Khalid Racetrack Championship on his fourth start in Ta’if.

A notable addition to the Saudi training ranks was multiple Grade 1-winning US trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, who saddled his first runner in July, with his first winner arriving the following month. Jerkens ended the season with six winners from 36 runners, his biggest win coming in a race for horses that had won 1-3 races (23 September), presented by Altanfeethi, courtesy of Luigi Vampa, a two-time winner in the UK when trained by David Menuisier.

HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the JCSA’s Technical Committee said: “We’re delighted with success of the 2023 Ta’if season, which has seen the continued development and strengthening of racing at King Khalid Racecourse, with more races added and an improved schedule for both Purebred Arabians and Thoroughbreds.

“There have been numerous outstanding performances throughout the season, and on behalf of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia I thank the continued support of our owners, trainers and horsemen for their hard work over the course of the campaign, as well as of course congratulating all our winners.

“I would also like to thank the Chairman of the Equestrian Authority, and Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia HRH Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al-Faisal for his support and leadership of the sustained development of horse racing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the directives of our leaders, May Allah Protect them.

“We now focus our attention on the upcoming Riyadh season, which gets underway on October 26 and continues all the way through until March and includes, of course, our marquee event, The Saudi Cup.”