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No joy for Pyledriver as Authority runs out a stylish winner of Neom Turf Cup

Pyledriver finished down the field as Japanese runner Authority made every yard of the running to claim the Neom Turf Cup in Riyadh.

Trained by Tetsuya Kimura and ridden by Christophe Lemaire, the five-year-old was sent off favourite for the extended 10-furlong event on the back of his second place behind Contrail in the Japan Cup in November.

Smartly away, Lemaire soon had Authority bowling along in front with Sir Michael Stoute’s Solid Stone tracking him through the early exchanges while leading British hope Pyledriver was forced to race out wide after being drawn 14 of 14 runners.

He was clearly in trouble at the top of the straight and quickly back-pedalled, leaving Frankie Dettori to try to mount a challenge aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained Harrovian.

But Authority just had too much in hand and was always holding him, with Kaspar swooping late to grab the runner-up prize.

American raider Channel Cat dramatically came down in the straight when trying to mount his challenge.

Lemaire said: “I could settle the pace the way I wanted without any pressure and then he used his long acceleration. He did the same in Japan. His strength made the difference.

“I knew he could stay the trip very well. The ground is firm and drawn two I knew I he would be very relaxed over the 2100 metres.

“The Japan Cup is one of the best races in the world and he was beaten by a very good horse (Contrail).”

Kimura was thrilled to land the £666,667 first prize, but is already focusing on Authority’s next target – the Sheema Classic at Meydan in a month’s time.

He said: “When he is in good shape he always takes a prominent position early. Today he was in good form and Lemaire knows the horse very well so they decided to take the lead.

“My only focus is to condition the horse for the race to give him the best chance in the race. I think 2100m is a good distance for him so I was not worried about it.

“This is my first overseas trip with a horse so this is the biggest achievement for me.

“First I now have to concentrate on Dubai and the Sheema Classic. The horse leaves for Dubai the day after tomorrow.”

Pyledriver was unplaced for Martin Dwyer
Pyledriver was unplaced for Martin Dwyer (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Martin Dwyer felt Pyledriver’s wide draw had taken its toll.

He said: “The draw hammered me. If they go quick early, it gives you a chance to get in and they didn’t. They went very slow and I was trapped deep the whole way. We live to fight another day, but the draw was against us.”

Of Harrovian, Dettori said: “I had a bad draw. The best horse won, but with a better draw I’d have been second. When you’re three-wide you’re giving so much ground away, but you can’t buy your draw.”

Songline took the sprint honours
Songline took the sprint honours (Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/ Douglas de Felice)

Songline swooped inside the final furlong of the 1351 Turf Sprint to make it two from two for Lemaire and Japan, with Toru Hayashi the victorious handler this time.

It had looked as though Richard Hannon’s money-spinning filly Happy Romance had done enough to secure the honours as she collared front-runner Naval Crown with a furlong to run.

However, Songline was just finding his top gear on her outside and edged into the lead, with Casa Creed coming from a long way back to pinch second on the line.

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