New York Central (USA), racing in the colours of Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz, got up in the final strides to win the premiere edition of the $1,500,000 Saudia Cup (Sprint) by a head under US-based jockey Irad Ortiz Jnr.
The 5-year-old Tapit colt caught the Japanese-based Matera Sky (USA), who had mounted what seemed to be an insurmountable lead at the top of the stretch. The 1200 metres on the King Abdulaziz dirt track was timed in 1:11.68
Matera Sky broke fastest of all in the field of 13 and had a lead of about five lengths as they turned for home while New York Central was near the back of the pack in the middle of the track mounting a furious rally in the final 400m for the one-length victory, scoring one for the host country on its biggest night of racing.
Irad Ortiz Jnr, jockey, New York Central, 1st: “Inshallah. For a second I thought I was too far back turning for home but as soon as I started to ask my horse he started to pick it up and give me some run. Then I knew I had a chance. The other horse (Matera Sky) started stopping and was coming back fast. So I kept riding and I still had a chance to get there on time. (Winning on a night like this) means a lot. I enjoyed it, riding for Prince Faisal. I’m so excited.”