Leading US-based rider Luis Saez lifted the International Jockeys Challenge presented by stc at Riyadh racecourse on Friday.
It had turned out to be the ideal culmination for the competition with five of the 14 male and female riders from around the world still in with a chance of winning by the time of the last of the four legs.
Saez, who had ridden at the meeting before, ended up winning one race and finishing second in two others, including the Round 4 finale.
“It’s super exciting, I want to say thank you to everybody for this magnificent moment-my family, well everybody, I’m pretty happy,” he said.
“Over here I don’t understand the form too much, I could only see how my horses ran last time and so I studied every horse, which was a bit difficult. But I had a good feeling, I have a lot of faith in my horses, I feel like they are going to run good and every horse ran pretty good so I’m pretty happy. I rode the horses like they told me, pretty much. When you break from the gate, when you are in a good position, be kind, be confident and try and win the race.
“This place is very special for me, I really love this course, I love the dirt, I love everything here, the people, I feel like this is home here.”
Yuga Kawada filled the runner-up sport while British-based rider Joanna Mason, who gave an exhibition from the front in Round 2 aboard Medbaas (KSA) for Saad Bin Khiood, took the bronze medal.
“To come second in the last and win this has been amazing,” Mason after victory aboard Medbaas. “I just got told simple instructions, jump out, get to the rail because he likes being in front and push on from the 600m, he’s all speed. That’s what he did and he went on again.
“When the horse came to me he pulled out that bit extra. I’m not experienced on the dirt but it rides beautifully, I’ve been on a first and a second, I really can’t complain!”
An amateur rider from as far back as 2006 who has also competed in jumps races, Mason has made a striking impression in a couple of full seasons as a professional, steering home 46 winners in Britain last year and has been clocking up many miles in the car during the current domestic all-weather season.
She continued, “To even be picked to be out here, as much as representing the UK and the rest of the world and the females, to have a second and a winner, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It’s a dream come true, everyone has been so hospitable.”