GSW Sir Busker Heads to Turf at Saudi Cup Fixture

Trainer William Knight confirmed GSW Sir Busker (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}) will bypass the Saudi World Cup in favor of the 10-furlong G3 Neom Turf Cup in Riyadh Feb. 25.

According to Knight, keeping the 7-year-old on the turf was the main deciding factor in settling on the gelding’s next appearance.

“We have talked long and hard about this, which one to go for? I promise you it has changed daily!” said Knight. “I’ve spoken to a couple of the jockeys about the dirt out there and taken advice from a few people. It’s a really hard one because it is such an amazing opportunity to run for that sort of money in the Saudi Cup.”

“I just feel now that the trip will really suit him. We know he goes well on the turf, just looking at the entries for both races, I think we have a better chance of being in the first three in the Neom than we would on the dirt.”

Enjoying his best season in 2022, Sir Busker concluded the year with a victory in the G2 York S. and a third behind Baaeed in the G1 Juddmonte at the same track last August. The Irish-bred finished second under Ryan Moore in the Feb. 4 Listed Tandridge S.

“Ryan will ride Sir Busker,” confirmed Knight. “Ben Curtis has done very well on him but we didn’t know if he was going to be back and riding fit in time for him, he’s out for a long time with a shoulder injury.”

He added, “This is why Ryan rode him at Lingfield the other day, to get a feel of him because he’s never ridden him before and with a view to riding him in the Neom.”

Another factor in the decision to keep Sir Busker on the turf is his recent propensity for tardy exits from the stalls.

“He has been slowly away and though we are doing stalls work with him, if he does face the kickback on the dirt, he’ll have never really encountered that,” he said. “As much as the money is very, very tempting, I think we’ve sided with the turf.”

He continued, “We need to address it, I purposely hadn’t over the winter because I just thought it was something he had got into at the end of the season.

“His last couple of runs he was just slightly slowly away. I’m glad we ran him at Lingfield the other day, we just needed to blow the cobwebs out but you wouldn’t want that to happen at the meeting in the three weeks time.”

“We’re going to address it this week–we’ve got [stalls specialist] Craig Witheford booked [this week] to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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