James Doyle lands Crown Prince Cup on Saudi return

Sunday 18 December 2022

James Doyle partnered My Frankel to a comfortable success in the Crown Prince Cup (Domestic Group 1) at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh yesterday.

The Godolphin-retained rider was having his first rides in Saudi Arabia since The Saudi Cup meeting this February and struck on the former Sir Michael Stoute-trained five-year-old to land the feature 1 million SR (approx. £215,000) contest.

Doyle first rode in Saudi Arabia in the 2013/14 season, with his last winner coming in 2019/20, and yesterday’s success marked his seventh winner from 63 rides in the country.

Speaking after the success, Doyle said: “My Frankel was brilliant. They had said he would rate the highest of the runners, so he was pretty well fancied.

“The race worked out beautifully. He’s a horse that can lead, but we were a little unsure on how the race would set up, with pacemakers from other stables. We ignored the pacemakers and just rode our own race.

“He was stepping up in trip for the first time in Saudi, but he’d seen the mile-and-a-half out quite well from his time in England, so I knew he’d stay. It was just a case of trying to keep the fractions as smooth as possible as he’s a relentless galloper, rather than a real quickener.

“The straight in Saudi is quite long, so when you’re in front for the whole way, it does seem a long way, but he had plenty left and was a ready winner.

“I think the pencilled in plans for him are to drop back to 2000m and be targeted at the King’s Cups [14 January 2023]. The drop back in trip wouldn’t be a worry.”

Doyle also mentioned the special atmosphere on the day and his hopes of returning to ride in Saudi Arabia: “From spending a lot of time in Saudi over the years, it was nice to see such a big crowd there. The reception My Frankel got was pretty incredible.

“It’s a huge team HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled Bin Abdulaziz has and they’re very passionate about their horse and the racing, so it was great to see.

"I look forward to hopefully coming back here again soon."

For all the latest news and results from the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, follow: https://twitter.com/JCSA_Racing.

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