Holloway Boy and Al Qareem set for Saudi assignments
Karl Burke has the world’s most valuable race meeting in mind as he plans a trip to the Saudi Cup game with the two of them Holloway boy and Al Qareem.
Holloway Boy made an exceptional start to his career, landing the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot on his racecourse debut before suffering a narrow defeat in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, while his string of subsequent finishes in the company of the group was one third place behind Derby favorite Auguste Rodin included the Vertem Futurity Trophy in his last start.
The Chestnut is set to target the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, heading there via Riyadh’s King Abdulaziz Racecourse.
Burke has the $1.5 million Saudi derby in mind for Son of Ulysses, a Group 3 competition held at the circuit’s headline meeting in late February.
“I always thought of giving him a prep run before the 2000 guineas. Going to the Saudi derby still gives us the courage to play in the Guineas for two months,” he said.
“The timing is ideal and the prize money is huge. As long as he is fit and healthy at the end of January I would imagine we will go there.
“He is a horse with a lot of potential. He showed that again at the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster when he probably should have finished second. The winner, Auguste Rodin, is obviously a very useful horse.”
Holloway Boy has yet to encounter an artificial surface, but Burke was impressed by the Riyadh dirt track and cites the success of other British-trained horses as an example of his suitability for turf horses.
“I went to the big gathering this year – some of my owners invited me out there. I was very impressed with everything.
“The jockeys reported that the dirt track was very horse friendly compared to some others. The setback wasn’t that bad, so it helped us to think about giving Holloway Boy a chance there.
“I wouldn’t like to ride it on ‘normal’ dirt, but from what I’ve seen for myself and listened to the jockeys, it’s a very comfortable surface in Saudi Arabia.
“Mishriff obviously went out and won the Saudi Cup in 2021, so it’s proved kind to the European horses, so to speak.”
Al Qareem will also sail to the Middle East, with Burke aiming for the Group 3 Red Sea Turf Handicap with the Prix Chaudenay winner.
“It’s huge money and a horse like Al Qareem would go there with a chance. If he couldn’t win, he would have a chance to win a big place money,” said the coach.
“He has come back and is galloping away steadily at the moment. We will collect his work now until Christmas and he will work until January. If he is in good shape at the end of January we will point him towards the Red Sea.
“That’s the plan in our heads at the moment, but there’s still a lot of training to do over the next six weeks. When we arrive at the end of January we will make a firm decision. I’m very happy with him at the moment.
“We hope that he can develop into a cup horse next season. He has shown good form and is only three years old. He really is just a baby.
“He’s a large-framed horse, so next year he can strengthen and improve again. He still has to prove it, of course, but we hope we can turn him into that type of horse.”