In the days leading up to the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 26, usracing.com is publishing profiles of the starters in the world’s richest horse race. Profiles will be updated with odds, post positions and jockeys several days before the race.
By Margaret Ransom
2022 Saudi Cup Horse Profile: Sealiway
Sealiway will be making his first start since posting the mild upset in the Quipco Champion Stakes (G1) at Ascot four months ago and it will also be his first start on dirt.
“Sealiway works on the sand in the mornings and he’s very impressive on it,” Pauline Chehboub, racing manager for her family’s stable, said. “We think it will suit him well, we don’t think it will be a problem. He is a very flexible horse. He has a lot of speed and we saw in the Arc that he can stay. We are confident he can adapt to different distances and tracks.”
In 2020, Sealiway also won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) (previously the Grand Criterium), France’s oldest and most prestigious race for juveniles, before shipping to Kentucky for a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Last year, he finished a decent fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1).
In what may have been his best performance, though he didn’t come away with a victory, Sealiway finished second to Cartier Horse of the Year St Mark’s Basilica in the Prix du Jockey Club (G1) at Chantilly last June.
“He had a brilliant (2021) season, just as we hoped,” Chehboub said. “It was a great run behind St Mark’s Basilica in the Prix du Jockey Club, and he then ran a nice race in the Arc before that huge performance in the Champion Stakes. We always believed he was a top-class horse, and he showed his talent at Ascot. The best is yet to come with him
“(The Champion Stakes) wasn’t a surprise for us, he was in very good form after the Arc. He was the best 2-year-old in France after his win in the Lagardere and he proved after Ascot that he was the best three-year-old. It was a crazy day, very emotional. We were so pleased with him, he’s very special.
“We are planning a big international campaign. We’re not sure exactly where yet but there is the Arc in October and I’m sure we’ll be going back to Ascot at some point. The first thing is Saudi, we’ll make a plan after that. We think 2022 is going to be a very big year for Sealiway.”
Betting advice: As a deep closer with plenty of pace to run at late, this horse may offer some value. He has faced and either defeated or run with some of the best in Europe so a top performance here would not be a shock providing he’s fit off the layoff.
Post position: 11
Odds: 14-1 (BUSR.com odds)
Jockey: Mickael Barzalona
Trainer: Francis-Henri Graffard
Owners: Le Haras De La Gousserie (Chehboub Family) & Guy Pariente
Career record: 12-5-3-1
Career earnings: $1,876,850
Top Equibase speed figure: 98
Pedigree: Galiway-Kensea, by Kendargent
Running style: Closer
Notes: In the Saudi Cup, Sealiway will make his first start in the care of trainer Francis-Henri Graffard after his previous two trainers, Frederik and Cedric Rossi (as well as a nephew, Charley) were arrested by French authorities back in December and summarily suspended by French racing officials in a controversial doping scandal … The Saudi Cup was always on the radar for this horse’s owners, so after switching yards the goal remained the same.
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law in Kentucky known as the “Borell Law.”Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time.She lives in Robinson, Texas, with her longtime beau, Tony. She is the executive director of the 501(c)(3) non-profit horse rescue, The Bridge Sanctuary.