February 2023



The William Knight-trained SIR BUSKER will bid to get Team British Racing off to a perfect start at the Saudi Cup meeting tomorrow (Saturday, 25th February) when he lines up in the Group 3 Neom Turf Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.

The seven-year-old is a flagbearer for Knight, having given the Newmarket trainer his first Royal Ascot winner when landing the Silver Royal Hunt Cup over Ascot’s straight mile in 2020, and raced in France and the Middle East since then.

Sir Busker has been campaigned predominantly over a mile, contesting some of Britain’s premier contests in recent seasons, including the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, and it was over this distance that he was last seen finishing runner-up in the Listed Tandridge Stakes at Lingfield Park earlier this month.

But tomorrow, he will step back up to 1 mile 2 furlongs, a trip that he hinted would be within his grasp on three starts during the Dubai World Cup Carnival last spring, and comprehensively proved was suitable with a win in the Group 2 York Stakes last July.

Sir Busker, who cost just €25,000 as a yearling, has been the horse of a lifetime for Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, taking his co-owners on three overseas excursions and becoming the syndicate’s highest ever money earner when he finished third to BAAEED (GB) in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York last August.

In a video filmed by Great British Racing International (GBRI) before Sir Busker travelled to Saudi Arabia, Knight commented:

“They travelled to Dubai with him, to France, and now they’ve got a trip to Saudi. When you’re a 1/16th shareholder, it’s what you get in it for, the dream that that might happen, and in this case it has, and they’re just enjoying the ride.”

Reflecting on Sir Busker’s career so far, Knight adds:

"We’ll always show him a lot of gratitude for what he’s done for me.”

Speaking with GBRI on Thursday evening, Sam Hoskins of Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds issued a positive update on Sir Busker:

“Sir Busker has settled in really well, like a duck to water. William and Jitka are really pleased with him, they’re delighted with how he’s looking. He’s done some exercise in the dirt the last couple of mornings, he’s all ready for Saturday. They feel he’s working better than he’s ever done and is in better shape than he’s ever been. We just have to keep all our fingers crossed that he runs a really good race on Saturday and brings some money back home.

“Obviously the prize money on Saturday is huge and it would be fantastic to get a part of that. We did have the option of going for the Saudi Cup, which is worth telephone numbers, but he’s a turf horse really. Ultimately, we are a horse in a horse race. We love Sir Busker and want to do what’s best for him. We could win the Neom Turf Cup, but we couldn’t realistically win the Saudi Cup.”

Commenting on the experience of racing Sir Busker around the world, Hoskins continued:

“It’s really exciting for Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds. We have eight people coming out to watch, which is fantastic. It’s great to bring them to a country like Saudi Arabia, which perhaps they otherwise would not be visiting. It’s amazing where racing takes you in the world. We’re really looking forward to it.”

Sir Busker will face 10 rivals in the Neom Turf Cup, including a further two British contenders in the form of MISSED THE CUT for George Boughey and MOSTAHDAF for John and Thady Gosden.

In total, 13 runners representing 10 British trainers are declared to run at the meeting.

Missing from the line-up is SAFFRON BEACH. Trained in Newmarket by Jane Chapple-Hyam, the mare was purchased for 3,600,000 guineas by Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz’s Najd Stud at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale last November. The Saudi Cup was intended to be her final start, but she was withdrawn last week due to a dirty scope and officially retired to stud; she is scheduled to visit FRANKEL (GB) at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud.

Click below to watch the Sir Busker video feature.

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