Mishriff Wins Saudi Cup with some Drama

The Saudi Cup is the world’s richest race, offering a $20-million purse, with $10 million going to the winner. There were fourteen starters, but the race was billed as a dual between Pegasus Cup winner Knicks Go and G1 Malibu winner Charlatan. No one mentioned this to Irish-bred Mishriff, who put the pressure on down the stretch and finally passed Charlatan in the last 100 yards to win by a length. This was only Mishriff’s second race on dirt. Some observers commented that 21-year-old jockey David Egan took the fastest route down the stretch, as the footing appeared to be better.

Mishriff is trained by John Gosden-trained and owned by Prince Faisal

However, the drama didn’t end on race day. After the race, David Egan, Mishriff’s jockey, was fined 10% of his share of the $10-million winner’s purse (about $100,000) and two days suspension for violating the country’s whip rules by hitting Mishriff 11 times. Jockeys are limited to 10 strikes. Charlatan’s jockey, Mike Smith, was also suspended two days for allegedly interfering with Sleepy Eyes Todd about 100 meters from the start of the race.

Saudi Arabia’s whip rules prohibit:

  • Using the whip with excessive frequency and more than 10 times. Fines are determined by how much the limit is exceeded.
  • Using the whip with excessive force.
  • Using the whip with the arm above shoulder height.
  • Using the whip rapidly without giving the horse time to respond (that is twice or more in one stride).
  • Using the whip on a horse which is showing no response.
  • Using the whip on any part of the horse’s head or in the vicinity of the head.
  • The use of the whip in front of the saddle while the whip is held in the forehand position, unless exceptional circumstances prevail.
  • The continued use of the whip on a horse after its chance of winning or being placed is clearly gone.
  • The unnecessary use of the whip on a horse that has clearly won its race or has obtained its maximum placing.
  • Using the whip to the extent of causing injury.
  • Using the whip on a horse which is past the winning post.
  • Using the whip on a horse in any place except on the quarters.
  • Using the whip on another Jockey. 

What do you think of the Saudi whip rules? Are they a deterrent?

3 thoughts on “Mishriff Wins Saudi Cup with some Drama

  1. YES. I think all of the rules are excellent. I wish we had those rules here in the US. WOuld it serve as a deterrent? Y’know, 1 Million bucks is a heck of a fine, 10% is a big chunk out of a jockey’s wallet. I don’t know if any other jockey went to the whip more than ten times, but if they did not, then yes, it works. Would it work here?

    I would hope it would. I don’t like seeing use of the whip, if a horse is giving his all, whipping isn’t going to make him go any faster. I’m still of the opinion that American jockeys whip more as a demonstration to the trainer/owner that he’s doing his job, it was the horse who wasn’t. I’m certain that a lot of jockeys are held to blame for a horse that just isn’t good enough for the race, or is burnt out, or is on drugs for pain, or was just plain ol’ outrun, all sorts of things.

    1. I do wonder if an owner would actually pay the jockey’s fine. After all, it was a $10 million purse . . . $100,00 may be worth it. Would a jockey even think about backing off their whip if they thought it would help them win the race? Last year, Mike Smith was fined $200K for hitting Midnight Bisou 14 times. The fine went up to 60% of the purse based on the number of whip strikes over 10. He came in second, winning $3.5 million for her owners. BTW, I agree with you on restricting whip use. I wonder if disqualifying the horse would do it.

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