Feature Story

Tilal Al Khalediah steals the show in victory for Saudi Arabia

Tilal Al Khalediah steals the show in victory for Saudi Arabia Mar 30, 2024

By Sam Turner - 

Many felt Dubai World Cup Day would begin with a Saudi Arabian winner of the Dubai Kahayla Classic and the first Group 1 of the programme duly went the way of trainer Nasser Mutlaq Alkahtani – albeit with the least fancied of his duo.

While the strongly-fancied Asfan Al Khalediah produced a rather laboured performance in the hands of Abdullah Alawfi, stablemate Tilal Al Khalediah delivered a markedly contrasting display, travelling sweetly throughout under rider Adel Al Furaydi.

The combination moved on to the heels of Barakka turning for home and, once sent for home, never looked in serious danger of being caught as he quickened clear of some toiling rivals to score by six-and-a-half lengths eased down.

The tough and consistent Ahmad bin Harmash trainee Barakka stuck on gamely for the runners-up berth under Connor Beasley, while Asfan Al Khalediah plugged on when switched wide in the straight to claim third to provide his trainer with a 1-3 in the opener. 

"Tilal Al Khalediah and Asfan Al Khalediah are the best horses in my stable," said winning trainer Nasser Mutlaq Alkahtani. 

"Asfan Al Khalediah faced a lot of traffic today and went very wide. He won ten times in Saudi Arabia last year including six Group 1s so maybe he was a bit tired today.

"Tilal Al Khalediah has been quietly campaigned so was more fresh for today. For one year, he was sick so he started back only in the Al Mneefah Cup in February. When the jockeys asked me last night, I told Adel that Tilal Al Khalediah looks better and that he was going to win."

"This is the second time for me in Dubai. Tallaab Al Khalediah won in 2018 for us and I hope we can come again next year."

Winning jockey Adel Al Furaydi said: "It’s a dream come true. I am very grateful to the owners and the trainers who have trusted me with such a great horse. I’d also like to thank Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan for the opportunity to race on such a grand stage."