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Czech Republic trainer brings the appropriately-named Abha to Saudi Arabia

[Saudi Cup Official Release] Ingrid Janackova Koplikova has a pretty good idea of what it should take to win Saturday’s US $500k NHC Saudi International Handicap and in Abha (FR) she feels she might be introducing her best contender yet.

The Czech Republic’s representative, who has been training for three years, brings a filly who managed to land last year’s Czech Derby, the country’s signature event.

"Last year I brought Stronger Together, who finished third in this same race, but two years earlier I was here because my dad ran a filly, Zariyannka, in the race, and I rode her," she said.

"The Derby is the biggest race in the Czech Republic, it was a special moment for me to win it for the first time. The year before, Stronger Together was second in it.

"I think she has better quality than Stronger Together, she just needs a nice quiet ride during the race, she’s got a very fast last 400m. I think she can run well, I hope so."

Koplikova found Abha in a claiming race in Saint-Cloud, France, in April last year and brought her back for a couple of outings including a Listed race at Vichy, in which she was a good fourth.

She has returned to the same country during the European winter to gain a head start on preparations.

"She’s been training in Cagnes-sur-Mer in France, I’ve now got 25 horses there," she explained.

"It’s sunny there, so not too much of a change from coming to Saudi Arabia and certainly better than Czech Republic, it’s -10C° there!

"It can be difficult for trainers from Czech Republic to get here but Abha has a great owner, they want to try running in different countries and I like the place, they’re nice people and the best horses are here."

Although Abha is having her first run outside Europe, Koplikova is sure that local watchers will recognise something familiar about her.

"Her name is an Arabic name, it’s a city in Saudi Arabia, so it’s nice and she’s having a lot of fun here," she said. "She’s a quiet filly and I think she’s fit."


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