The Jane Chapple-Hyam trained Group 1 winner Saffron Beach was considered not right enough to travel to Riyadh for the £16 million Saudi Cup and has been retired

Group 1-winning mare Saffron Beach has been ruled out of the £ 16 million Saudi Cup to have a date with A-list stallion Frankel instead.

Saudi connections Najd Stud shelled out 3.6 million guineas at auction in November last year to secure the five-year-old for a tilt at the world’s richest race in Riyadh next week.

Her trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam on Tuesday cancelled the trip to the Middle East because Saffron Beach is not right enough to travel.

“After a routine scope that was unsatisfactory for travel to the Saudi Cup, Saffron Beach has been retired from racing and will now visit Frankel at Juddmonte Farms,” she tweeted.

“I wish to thank Prince Faisal Bin Khaled and his team for entrusting me with her training and wish her all the best for her breeding career.”

Chapple-Hyam celebrated her first Group 1 victory as a trainer when Saffron Beach won the Sun Chariot Stakes in 2021. Last year she doubled her score with success in the Prix Rothschild.

She also enjoyed Royal Ascot success in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes in the colours of Ben and Ollie Sangster and James Wigan before her sale at Tattersalls.

Frankel, who was trained by Sir Henry Cecil, retired unbeaten with 14 wins as the highest-rated horse in the world.

He is now one of the most expensive sires in the world, with mating to him costing £275,000 in 2023.

In other news, the King is set to have his first runner at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has revealed that Steal A March is being aimed at the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final on the third day of the meeting.

Steal A March has already secured a special place in Royal hearts having won a race in Worcester on the weekend of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The eight-year-old, who was bred by Queen Elizabeth II, finished second next time out at Newton Abbot, his first race in the King’s ownership.

He was back in the winners’ enclosure at Wincanton on Boxing Day, his most recent start.

Henderson is likely to have five runners in the three-mile race but likes the chances of Steal A March.

“It would be great for racing, great for Cheltenham to have a royal runner at the meeting,” the trainer said…

“Steal A March won on Derby day which was very special because that was the Jubilee weekend. We were all trying to get winners that weekend for the Queen.

“He’s improved a fair bit all of a sudden. I like his chances. We have quite a strong team for the contest to be fair, but I was impressed with him the last time.

“It would be very nice to win but it would be great if the King or Queen Consort will be able to come. The sport needs it.”

King Charles III has had seven winners since he inherited the royal string following the death of the Queen in September last year. Steal A March has been his only jump winner.

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