Emblem Road shock winner in $20m Saudi Cup, world's richest horse race - GulfToday

Emblem Road shock winner in $20m Saudi Cup, world's richest horse race

Wigberto Ramos celebrates after winning the 20:35 Saudi Cup with horse Emblem Road on Saturday. Reuters

Saudi longshot Emblem Road came from behind to claim a shock win in the world's richest horserace, the $20 million Saudi Cup, in Riyadh on Saturday.

The 66-1 outsider, ridden by Panamanian jockey Wigberto Ramos, stormed up the outside in the home straight to win a five-horse sprint by a head from US trainer Bob Baffert's Country Grammer.

Saudi-based Ramos and owner Prince Saud Bin Salman Abdulaziz were jubilant afterwards as they were surrounded by fans celebrating the 1,800m race's first Saudi winner in its third edition.

Saudiwomen-cute-HorseRace Racegoers watch horses in the parade ring at the King Abdulaziz racetrack in Riyadh. AP

The $10 million first prize capped a lavish, two-day meeting at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse dirt track where 240 horses from 16 countries competed for a total purse of $35.1 million.

Earlier, Christophe Lemaire rode four Japanese winners in the Neom Turf Cup, the Turf Sprint, the Red Sea Turf Handicap and the Riyadh Dirt Sprint.

American trainer Baffert, who is battling doping charges after Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive last May, won the Saudi Derby with Pinehurst.

Indianstudents-Ukraine-combo Hadi De Carrere, ridden by Olivier Peslier in action during the 18:25 Obaiya Arabian Classic presented by Lexus. Reuters

The Saudi Cup is part of a Saudi investment spree on high-profile events that has drawn accusations of sportswashing, or attempting to distract from its human rights record.

The deeply conservative kingdom has attracted Formula One and heavyweight boxing, and in October its Public Investment Fund snapped up Premier League football team Newcastle United.

The world's biggest oil exporter is also courting controversy by bankrolling a new Super Golf League, intended as a rival to the US PGA Tour that has long dominated the sport.

Saudiwomen-HorseRace Women are pictured in the stands for the Saudi Cup. Reuters

In December, Frenchman Philippe Boutron was badly injured in an explosion while driving a support car during the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. French investigators found the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device.

Agence France-Presse

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