IT is possible to deplore many of the activities of the ruling regime in Saudi Arabia and some of them in the UAE – I do – while still being interested in knowing what racing in those countries amounts to.

The former staged the second running of the nine-furlong Saudi Cup – the world’s richest race – at King Abdulaziz Racecourse last Saturday. It delivered a race and a finish of no small consequence, the French Derby winner Mishriff showing great tenacity to run down the high-class US colt Charlatan.