Ron the Greek, now racing in Saudi Arabia under the name Wattani, won well in his first start for his new connections at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh on Saturday. Breaking from the middle of the pack in the one-turn, 1800-metre event, jockey Camilo Ospina positioned Ron the Greek in a stalking position, advanced four wide around the long turn, hit the front with more than 500 metres to run, and maintained a commanding lead. Mister Angry, who had a ground-saving trip, rallied up the rail for second while Mashoor was a distant third. The final margin of 2 1/4 lengths was not indicative of the nature of the win, which can be viewed below.
A winner in the 2013 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park, over the Dubai World Cup distance of 1 1/4 miles, Ron the Greek missed the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita with a quarter crack.
Formerly trained in America by Bill Mott, the 7-year-old son of Full Mandate now resides in the royal yard overseen by Nicholas Bachalard, a former assistant to American-based trainer Christophe Clement. Sources from Saudi Arabia tell DubaiRaceNight.com that Ron The Greek could potentially run one more time in Saudi Arabia, or go directly to the Dubai World Cup. A run on the Super Saturday programme at Meydan is unlikely.
Horses trained or based in Saudi Arabia have not won the world’s richest race, although Premium Tap was second in the 2007 edition, while Paris Perfect and Muller were distant third and fourth placers in Well Armed’s romp at Nad Al Sheba in 2009. The last Saudi-owned winner from the World Cup meeting came from Big City Man in the 2009 Dubai Golden Shaheen. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Sons landed their first win at Meydan on January 30, 2014 when Bader Al Shibani trainee Alsaaeqah shocked in a 1,000-metre turf sprint.