Williams Set To Saddle First Saudi Runner
20 February 2023
20 February 2022 – UK trainer Ian Williams is set to have his first runner in Saudi Arabia, when six-year-old Enemy lines up in the $2.5 million G3 Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap (3000m) on Saturday.
A date at The Saudi Cup meeting was always on the agenda for Enemy, but it was dependent on how he performed on his reappearance this season, as Williams explained: “He needed to go up in the weights to get in. That meant his first run this year in Dubai was an important part of getting into this race.
“He won impressively there and interestingly it was his first run back after a procedure on his wind. It was also over a mile-and-a-half (2400m) rather than his preferred distance of closer to two miles (3200m).”
Enemy has contested some of the biggest staying races in the UK, facing the world’s highest-rated staying horses like Stradivarius and Kyprios in last year’s G1 Goodwood Cup, but this could be his toughest assignment to date.
He will be joined in the 3000m contest by 2021 Ascot Gold Cup winner Subjectivist, as well last year’s York Ebor winner Trawlerman, while 2021 German Derby winner Sisfahan and Yasutoshi Ikee’s Silver Sonic are other notable contenders.
“I think it’s a very strong field, with Subjectivist and Trawlerman in there. There are some very good European horses and it’s certainly as tough a field as he’s ever run in, but he merits his chance after his recent performances,” Williams said.
“I think the trip will suit him well. He stays well and he’d like a decent early pace so he can drop his head. Given a choice between a mile-and-a-half (2400m) and a mile-and-seven-furlongs (3000m), we’d probably always vouch for the longer trip.”
Enemy was given a patient ride by Richard Kingscote when winning at Meydan last time but, despite stepping back up to what should be more like his optimum trip, Williams suggested they may try to ride the son of Muhaarar differently at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.
“I’m not sure how much we’ll hang on to him in Saudi. It’s a very different track that doesn’t have the wide-open space and galloping nature of Meydan,” Williams said, adding: “Richard Kingscote will ride him again and between us we’ll make a decision on exactly how we feel the race is going to be run.”
“He’s been in great form, and we’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to run in Saudi. He’ll be my first runner there, it’s a challenge and great to be a part of it.”
The G3 Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap is the fifth race on Saudi Cup night, which culminates in the $20 million Saudi Cup.