Dettori and Country Grammer aiming for Saudi Cup revenge

Thu 19 Jan 2023

Frankie Dettori has the opportunity for big-race glory on his farewell tour when partnering Country Grammer in the Saudi Cup.

Dettori guided the Bob Baffert-trained six-year-old to Dubai World Cup success last year and was reunited with the son of Tonalist at Santa Anita on Boxing Day, where the Italian began the American leg of his swansong by steering Country Grammer to victory in the San Antonio Stakes.

Country Grammer will now attempt to go one better than last year’s half-length second to Emblem Road in the the $20million Riyadh Group One and owner Amr Zedan – a successful Saudi Arabian businessman and breeder – is delighted to have the assistance of the 52-year-old as he attempts to win the world’s most valuable race.

Country Grammer and Frankie Dettori after winning the Dubai World Cup
Country Grammer and Frankie Dettori after winning the Dubai World Cup

“Frankie needs no testimony from me,” said Zedan. “He’s been great for the sport in every way – on the horse, off the horse or flying off the horse.

“His accomplishments speak for themselves. He’s a good friend and he will be missed. I hope he reconsiders his retirement by picking up mounts as he chooses over the coming months.”

Reflecting on Country Grammer’s effort in the contest 12 months ago, Zedan added: “It was my first appearance at the Saudi Cup and Country Grammer was an unknown commodity. He showed great tenacity to finish second and we were very proud of him,”

Zedan will also be represented by another Baffert-trained contender on February 25, with Malibu Stakes victor Taiba also in the running for the nine-furlong event.

Also an emphatic scorer at Santa Anita on Boxing Day, his owner hopes the four-time scorer can make his mark over a trip at which he has tasted top-level success previously in both the Pennsylvania and Santa Anita Derby.

He continued: “We really hoped we had something after he won the Santa Anita Derby in April and we always thought he would be the perfect fit for the race going from his three-year-old to his four-year-old year.

“The Saudi Cup was front and centre, we had to see how the rest of the year played out but with me being from Saudi, it was always a priority.

“He’s the kind of horse that works as good as his workmate. He has his own mind but he gives me a heart attack in every race, especially down the backstretch.

“The Malibu was an important race for him as it turned into a bit of a sprint. It was a good call by Bob to put him in the right condition to instigate that kind of speed and it was a good step.

“If you watch the Pennsylvania Derby, he was dropping back and then picked up. Mike Smith knows him well and they are a great combination. He makes Mike work – he was more exhausted than Taiba that day!”

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