New distance no problem for Gifts Of Gold in Saudi Arabia
Gifts Of Gold excelled over a new trip when staying on gamely to take the Red Sea Turf Handicap at King Abdulaziz Racetrack, Riyadh, on Saturday, 20 February.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained six-year-old was stepping up to a mile and seven furlongs for the first time, with all three of his previous wins coming over nine furlongs and a mile and a quarter in the UK.
Gifts Of Gold was slightly slow into his stride but soon recovered to race in third of the 13 runners behind Call The Wind and Mildenberger.
He was relegated to fourth by Making Miracles with a circuit to race but quickened well entering the straight to go second passing the two-furlong pole.
Gifts Of Gold took up the running over a furlong out and soon established a clear advantage under Pat Cosgrave before galloping out resolutely to prevail by a length and a quarter over Spanish Mission.
Godolphin’s other runner Secret Advisor (William Buick) rallied in the closing stages to finish third, a neck behind Spanish Mission.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “I talked to Pat before today’s race and told him to keep Gifts Of Gold handy if he could. The pace suited him as it wasn’t really that fast and I thought he had a chance in the last two furlongs. He finished his race off really well.
“Pat is a good jockey and has done well for us in Australia, England and in Germany, so we are happy.
“We will take Gifts Of Gold back to Dubai now and he could run in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup over two miles. He has proven himself as a stayer now, so we will look to keep him over a similar trip.”
Pat Cosgrave said: “I was a little bit doubtful whether Gifts Of Gold would get this trip as his last run was over a mile on dirt. I spoke to Saeed before the race and he said that the horse would stay if I sat handy in second or third.
“They went quite slow, which has probably helped me stay as he is a horse with a bit more of a turn of foot than most of these stayers. It worked out nice in the end and he stuck it out well.
“Saeed and myself have been all around the world together over the last three or four years. It has been great and this tops it off.”