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?