Songline And Geoglyph Hold Strong Chances In Saudi Starts

Defending G3 1351 Turf Sprint heroine Songline (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) is primed for a big effort in the 2023 edition, according to regular rider Christophe Lemaire.

“I rode her this morning and she looks in great condition,” he said on Wednesday. “I am very happy with her and so is her trainer. She will be the one to beat again this year, I think.”

Fifth in the G1 Victoria Mile after her Riyadh heroics in 2022, the Sunday Racing colourbearer claimed the G1 Yasuda Kinen by a neck over Schnell Meister (Ger) (Kingman {GB}) in June. She was last seen running fifth in the G2 Centaur S. at Chukyo over six furlongs on Sept. 11.

“Songline has shown some good form and some bad since winning here last year,” he added. Coming back from Saudi, she produced some very good results. In the autumn she had an issue and could not perform well. It looks like she is all fine from what I have seen and I hope she will race as well as last year.”

Lemaire’s other mount on Saturday is Geoglyph (Jpn) (Drefong), who is set to contest the day’s feature race, the $20-million G1 Saudi Cup.

“He has a lot of potential,” said Lemaire. “It is hard to predict how he will react on this new surface, but in terms of quality, he has a good chance.

“I have not ridden him on dirt yet and will not until Saturday. I give all my trust to the trainer and the staff. He is by Drefong, an American horse, so we expect him to run good and to adapt to the surface.

“It is always a big change for the horses. He is a Grade 1 winner in Japan and he beat Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}), which is the new superstar in Japan, so it shows how good Geoglyph is and if he likes the ground, the surface, I think he will cause a big surprise.”

A winner of the G3 Sapporo Nisai S. as a juvenile, the colt won the G1 Japanese 2000 Guineas at Nakayama last April, defeating the aforementioned Equinox. Unplaced behind Equinox two starts later in the G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) in October, he was sixth in the G1 Hong Kong Cup over 2000 metres on Dec. 11.

He added, “He travelled to Hong Kong, so it is always a good experience for horses to travel. It will be his second travel in a couple of months, but he is an easy horse and can adapt.

“In Hong Kong he was a bit unlucky in the race and he did not show his best, but hopefully on Saturday he will show people what he is able to do.”

The jockey, who won four races on the card last year, was also very complementary of the dirt surface in Riyadh, and said, “I agree that this is the best dirt track in the world. There was a little change between the first edition of the Saudi Cup three years ago.

“It looks like the ground is now a little bit deeper than it was before, but the quality of the sand is still good. It is a little bit different. It looks a little bit tougher for the horses to finish quick. The Saudi Cup winner came from behind last year. I think it looks like more of a front-runners’ track now.

“It is a little between the very quick American dirt and the deeper dirt track in Japan for example. We are somewhere in the middle. Both American horses and Japanese horses can adapt to this track.”

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