For the second straight year, jockeys in the $20 million Saudi Cup have been handed penalties for riding infractions.
David Egan, the 21-year-old Irish rider who got Mishriff home first, was suspended for two days and fined 10% of the rider’s share of the winner’s purse—likely a hit of around $100,000—for “whip above permitted level,” the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia said Feb. 21. Local rules limit riders to 10 strikes.
Mike Smith, who was hit with a fine amounting to more than $200,000 on similar charges in 2020, was not fined this year but set down for two days for “careless riding—shortly after the start causing interference to Sleepy Eyes Todd.”
Smith hustled Charlatan out of gate 9 in the Saudi Cup with Sleepy Eyes Todd leaving from gate 8. There was no immediate indication or objection to the start but slow-motion replay shows Charlatan crossing in front of Sleepy Eyes Todd as he sprinted to the lead. Tacitus was on Sleepy Eyes Todd’s left flank at that point.
Sleepy Eyes Todd finished fifth with a non-threatening late move while Charlatan led most of the way before yielding late to Mishriff.
Smith was none too pleased at the time of the 2020 fine but was more diplomatic as he reflected on the incident during this year’s competition.
“I enjoy riding here. I really do,” Smith said after the Feb. 19 races. “I know I made a few mistakes and I had to pay for them last year and rightly so. But it’s good to come back and try to redeem myself and we will see what happens.
“Lessons learned. You learn from big things like that and I learnt a big lesson and I humbled myself a whole lot and then I am ready for tomorrow.”