True Self was already assured of a run on Saudi Cup night this Saturday but OTI partners have added reason to be excited with the talented staying mare gaining an invite for the US$2.5M Longines Turf Handicap (3000m).
The decision to accept the offer was an easy one for trainer Willie Mullins, with the seven-year-old’s superior staying credentials and work in preparation for the trip suggesting the distance of the lucrative race was most suited. Leading international jockey Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride.
True Self has settled in well to her Saudi surroundings and travelled without issue. The winner of the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth over last year’s Spring Carnival will be first up after a midfield finish in the G1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) on December 8.
Taking his place alongside True Self will be another horse owned in OTI interests, the Joseph O’Brien trained, Downdraft.
Like True Self, Downdraft was a winner over the 2019 Spring Carnival when he saluted in the Group 3 Hotham Handicap (2500m) which stamped his ticket in to the Melbourne Cup three days later.
Downdraft recently completed his final piece of strong work, thrilling O’Brien in the process. “I’m very happy with the work. He settled well, travelled and quickened very well when asked. This work should leave him right for Saudi.”
The 3000m contest has been in the sights of the camp since Downdraft arrived back in Ireland following his Melbourne mission last spring.
With travel arrangements made, all is now in readiness. There is little doubt connections are in for a special experience in Riyadh come Saturday!