True Self wins Neom Turf Cup

Part OTI Racing-owned mare lands rich race in Saudi Arabia

True Self. Picture: Saudi Cup.
True Self. Picture: Saudi Cup.

The part OTI Racing-owned True Self (8 m Oscar  - Good Thought by Mukaddamah), who was last seen winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 3, 2600m) at Flemington on November 7, scored a good victory on Saturday in the Neom Turf Cup (2100m) at RIyadh. 

Trained by WIllie Mullins and ridden by Hollie Doyle, True Self beat the Bill Mott-trained favourite Channel Maker (English Channel) by a length and a quarter with another four and three quarter lengths back to Emirates Knight (Dark Angel) in third. 

"It was a fantastic ride by Hollie and the team have done a great job out there,” said Mullins. 

“We bought her originally as a mare to go hurdling with but she just has a huge amount of speed and all the jockeys who rode her said a mile and a quarter would suit her. 

“It didn’t always work out but it was great to come for a big prize like this. The two plans this year were here and Australia at the end of the year. I’ll have to talk to the owners, OTI Racing, to decide what else we do."

Later on the card, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained outsider Gifts Of Gold (6 g Invincible Spirit - Sanna Bay by Refuse To Bend) won the Red Sea Turf Handicap (3000m). 

Under Pat Cosgrave, Gifts Of Gold made his move and challenged with 400 metres left to run. He took the lead at the 200 metre mark and pulled away to win by a length and a quarter from the Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) bound Spanish Mission (Noble Mission). Sacred Advisor (Dubawi) was a close third. 

"This was the plan since January when racing started in Dubai,” said winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor. 

“I thought he would be the perfect horse. He’s a big strong horse and he ran well. The pace of the race wasn’t that fast and that suited him and he finished the race off really well.

"Pat is good jockey and he has won big races for us in Australia, England and Germany. We’re happy. We will take him back to Dubai and maybe he will go for the Gold Cup. I’m sure he will improve some more." 

The Charlie Fellows-trained globetrotter Prince of Arran (Shirocco) was disappointing. He was pushed along in the closing stages and never threatened to finish a well-beaten ninth, seven lengths from the winner. Jockey Frankie Dettori said afterwards: They went very slowly and I was too far back."

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