Prince of Arran’s future in doubt after trainer Charlie Fellowes sounds warning, jockey Hollie Doyle creates history in Saudi Arabia


The poor effort prompted Fellowes to take to Twitter, warning punters and those who are fans of his nine-year-old stable star to wait to hear on future plans.

“All plans on hold for PRINCE OF ARRAN for the time being after a 2nd very slow start in a row,” he tweeted. “He owes us absolutely nothing and we will take our time before making any further decisions on his future. He is safe and well after his race and flies back to England on Monday.”

Prince of Arran is an iron horse who has won nearly $2 million stake-money despite having won only six of his 47 starts.

He has always shown improved form when racing outside England, which is why this latest below par effort is causing some consternation.

A lot of his earnings have come from his efforts in Australia, where Newmarket-based Fellowes has often said he seems to grow an extra leg.

Last November he ran third, beaten less than a length by Twilight Payment, in the Melbourne Cup.
Prior to that he had been a close up fourth in the Caulfield Cup.

In 2019 he went down in a Melbourne Cup photo finish to Vow And Declare having won the Geelong Cup and run second in the Herbert Power Handicap in lead-up runs.

The year before he introduced himself to Australian racegoers by finishing third in the Herbert Power, winning the Lexus Stakes on Derby Day to get a place in the Cup field, and then finishing third in the Cup itself behind Cross Counter.

Bookmakers have installed Prince of Arran as favourite or second favourite in early long-range markets for this year’s Melbourne Cup.

Meanwhile, there was much brighter news for Melbourne-based Terry Henderson, boss of the OTI syndication group, whose game mare True Self picked up close to $1 million winning the Neom Turf Cup over 2100-metres at Riyadh.

True Self is trained by Irish maestro Willie Mullins and contributed to a first for Saudi Arabia as she was ridden by Britain’s top female rider, Hollie Doyle, who became the first woman to win a race at the Saudi Cup meeting.

Hollie Doyle with True Self in Saudi Arabia. Credit:Getty Images

“That was quite exciting,” Henderson quipped when contacted on Sunday.

“She’s such an enigma really. She’s one of those horses, she was bought to go jumping and she has won over the sticks but she is pretty good on the flat too.

“We wondered if that distance might be a bit short but we also knew they would go a fast pace and that might make it more like a 2400m race.

“Hollie rode her well, I have been communicating with her via text during the lead-up.”

Plans for True Self are fluid but Henderson says that the long-range target will be a tilt at the Melbourne Cup, a race for which she has failed to make the field previously.

Her record at Flemington is terrific, however, as she has won the last two runnings of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a group 3 handicap over 2500m, and earlier in her life ran a close second to Prince of Arran in the Geelong Cup.

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Saudi Arabia opens borders to Qatar, ending bitter Gulf dispute


While the Saudi decision marks a major milestone toward resolving the Gulf spat, the path toward full reconciliation is far from guaranteed.

Following Kuwait’s announcement, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted that his country was keen to restore Gulf unity. However, he cautioned: “We have more work to do and we are in the right direction.”

The lifting of the embargo by Saudi Arabia paves the way for Qatar’s ruler to attend an annual summit of Gulf leaders held in the kingdom’s ancient desert site of Al-Ula.

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State-run Qatari media confirmed Sheikh Tamim would be attending the summit, a move that analysts say would have been domestically sensitive for him had the Saudi blockade still been in place.

This year, Egypt’s president has also been invited to attend the summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

The decision to end the Saudi embargo comes just weeks after President Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, visited the kingdom and Qatar in a final push by the administration to secure a diplomatic breakthrough.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, meets with Senior Advisor to the U.S. President, Jared Kushner in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.Credit:Saudi Press Agency

It also comes just ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Saudi Arabia may be seeking to both grant the Trump administration a final diplomatic win and remove stumbling blocs to building ties with the Biden administration.

At heart are concerns that Qatar’s close relations with Turkey and Iran have undermined regional security. Egypt and the UAE view Qatar and Turkey’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat and have deemed the group a terrorist organisation. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are primarily concerned with Qatar’s close ties with regional foe Iran.

Those simmering tensions came to a boil in the summer of 2017, when the four countries announced their blockade on Qatar and cut all transport and diplomatic links with it. The move frayed social ties, separating families who’d intermarried with Qataris. It also pushed Qatar diplomatically closer to Turkey and Iran, which both rushed to Doha’s aid with food and medical supplies that had been in short supply in the first days of the embargo.

Gas-rich Qatar also took an economic hit from the blockade, and its national airline was forced to take longer and more costly routes. It was unclear how the blockade would impact its ability to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The blockading countries made a list of demands on Qatar that included shuttering its flagship Al Jazeera news network and terminating Turkish military presence in Qatar, which is also home to a major US military base. Qatar has outright rejected the demands, and has denied that its support of Islamist groups indicates support for violent extremists.

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Saudi Arabia sentences women’s rights activits Loujain al-Hathloul to prison


A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison in a trial that has drawn international condemnation.

Ms al-Hathloul, 31, has been held for more than two years following her arrest along with at least a dozen other women’s rights activist.

The verdict was handed down on Monday, according to the Sabq and al-Shark al-Awsat newspapers, and poses an early challenge to Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s relationship with US president-elect Joe Biden.

Mr Biden has previously described the Saudi Government as a “pariah” for its human rights record.

Ms al-Hathloul was charged with seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security, local media said.

The court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence, the time served since Ms al-Hathloul was arrested on May 15, 2018.

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United Nations human rights experts have described the charges against her as spurious and, along with leading rights groups and lawmakers in the United States and Europe, have called for her release.

The detentions of women activists occurred shortly before and after the kingdom lifted a ban on women driving, which many activists had long championed.

The change was part of reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that were also accompanied by a crackdown on dissent and an anti-corruption purge.

Ms al-Hathloul’s sentencing came almost three weeks after a Riyadh court jailed US-Saudi physician Walid al-Fitaihi for six years on vague charges related to criticising the government, despite US pressure to release him.

Rights groups have labelled the imprisonment as politically motivated.

Reuters



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‘External source’ causes oil tanker blast off Saudi Arabia


A shipping firm says an explosion on a tanker off Saudi Arabia’s Jiddah port was caused by the ship being “hit from an external source.”

The Singapore-flagged BW Rhine saw all 22 sailors on board escape without injury, the BW Group said in a statement. The company warned it was possible some oil leaked out from the site of the blast.

Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the blast, which struck off a crucial port and distribution center for its oil trade. However, it comes after a mine attack last month that damaged a tanker off Saudi Arabia that authorities blamed on Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, also reported the blast. No one immediately offered a cause.

The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the Mideast, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The explosion comes after a mine exploded and damaged a ship off Saudi Arabia last month. Another mysterious attack targeted a cargo ship off the small port city of Nishtun in Yemen’s far east earlier this month.

Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have used sea mines before in their long war against a Saudi-led coalition. However, the Houthis have not commented last month’s attack.

Dryad Global said if it was the Houthis behind Sunday’s blast, it “would represent a fundamental shift in both targeting capabilities and intent.”

The Red Sea is a vital shipping lane for both cargo and global energy supplies, making any mining of the area a danger not only to Saudi Arabia but to the rest of the world. Mines can enter the water and then be carried away by the currents that change by the season in the Red Sea.

The Red Sea has been mined previously. In 1984, some 19 ships reported striking mines there, with only one ever being recovered and disarmed, according to a U.N. panel of experts investigating Yemen’s war.

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.





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Google to Connect Israel and Saudi Arabia with Fiber-Optic Network – Jewish Business News


Google to Connect Israel and Saudi Arabia with Fiber-Optic Network

This while Google is looking at even more anti-trust suits.

While Israel failed to reach an agreement for the establishment of diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, the two nations may still soon be connected at least by communications cables. Google has plans to build a 5,000 mile long fiber-optic network for an internet traffic corridor which will connect India with Europe, the Wall Street Journal reports.

This new $400 million corridor will have a segment which will go between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

This news comes just after it was revealed that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday made a secret trip to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The new internet traffic corridor will, of course, make tele-communications between Israel and Saudi Arabia much easier. Even though the Saudis may not be ready to have formal ties with Israel, it has been made clear that the two countries have been doing business behind the scenes for a while now. The relations have been based on mutual security threats and there may soon be more business conducted between Israeli and Saudi private enterprise, if only from behind the scenes.

The big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others are all looking to building their own new high quality international communications networks, investing millions rather than wait for governments to do the work as they have done in the past. As the communications tech advances with faster internet speeds and the use of new types of cables for the infrastructure such investments by big have become obligatory for competition.

But Google may find itself with a big distraction as many American States are planning to bring their own anti-trust suits against it. This after The U.S. Justice Department filed its own such suit against Google just last month.

According to Reuters, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah are all planning on combining their state cases against Google parent company Alphabet with the Federal suit. The group of states is reportedly planning on filing their joint suit sometime in December.

It is not yet clear what remedies the American Department of Justice or the listed states will be seeking from the courts should their prove their respective cases. Google could be fined or be forced to sell off parts of its business in the same way that AT&T lost its telephone monopoly four decades ago.

And even if Google wins, it still loses in the end. Unless the suits are quickly dismissed by the courts, or a deal can be reached which does not cost Google too much, the company is looking at having the headache and distraction of fighting the anti-trust suits for years to come. Just think of all of the headlines.

And think about how much it will cost the company in legal fees.

One thing that all of the pundits seem to agree on is that this is not just about Google. The suit is also a shot across the bow of all of the huge conglomerates out there who must be concerned right now with the outcome of this case.


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Awkward questions avoided at digital G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia – Channel 4 News


World leaders should have been gathering for the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia. But the pandemic means the meetings are all happening via Zoom, which has solved the potential embarrassment for many of being wined and dined by a regime accused of serious human rights abuses.

But as Anja Popp reports, the Saudi hosts are keen for the summit to focus on efforts to make sure the whole world gets access to any future coronavirus vaccines.



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Russia and Saudi Arabia compete to become China’s biggest oil supplier


Saudi Arabia and Russia compete to become China’s leading oil suppliers in 2020. Both countries have been increasing their oil exports lately, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has dramatically affected the world demand on hydrocarbons.

Saudi Arabia, which was the main supplier to the Chinese market last year, exported from 1.6 to 1.7 million barrels of oil per day of oil from January to November 2020. Russia supplied about 1.7 million barrels to the People’s Republic of China per day, and Iraq – 1.2 million barrels.

China is one of the few countries to have increased purchases this year as demand on fuel recovered in the second quarter along with the economy as a whole. Yet, experts admit that the race is still on, and the winner remains unknown.

China’s crude oil exports went up nearly 190,000 barrels per day during the first 11 months of this year, compared to 2019, according to Reuters calculations. The PRC started buying oil and gas amid a sharp collapse in energy prices.



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F1 2020 Saudi Arabia: New event confirmed, latest news, reaction, dates


Saudi Arabia said Thursday it will host a Formula One Grand Prix for the first time next year, with a night race in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

“Hosting this event is part of the ‘Vision 2030’ project, with the support of our leadership and especially His Highness the Crown Prince,” Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki said, referring to the kingdom’s transformation plan.

Saudi Arabia had been pencilled in for the 2021 season as part of a record 23-race Formula One program, as the sport seeks to bounce back from a shortened 2020 season that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Hamilton cruises to 93rd win

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Saudi Arabia Grand Prix deal, Jeddah circuit, $900m deal


Formula 1 has confirmed Saudi Arabia will host a Grand Prix for the first time next year.

A ten-year agreement between the country and Formula 1 will see a new track brought to life on the banks of the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

The Kingdom is becoming an increasingly big player in the world of international sporting events and it has now scored it biggest ever annual sporting event.

The Sun reports Saudi Arabia will become the 33rd country to host a round of the Formula One World Championship when it showcases the race next year.

Jeddah will be the venue for the Grand Prix until a purpose-built track at Qiddiyah is completed, with it not expected to be ready until 2023.

F1 have announced that the final track design for the 2021 circuit is yet to be decided, though organisers want it to take place at night under the lights.

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It comes as reports emerged that race organisers have agreed to a hosting fee worth more than $900 million across the duration of the deal.

The Daily Mail reports the £50million-per-year deal ($90m) could even be extended beyond 10 years.

In a year when the rule book for annual hosting fees paid by host cities to Formula 1 have been thrown out the window as a result of the coronavirus, the $900 million deal is an absolute monster.

According to reports, Formula 1 this year had to slash the hosting fees to secure Grand Prix venues this year, after the sport raked in more than $US600m last year at an average of $US29m per race, according to Forbes.

However, the mega-rich deal has come under fire with Amnesty International and other human rights groups calling for drivers to boycott the event.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly come under fire from human rights groups for systemic human rights abuses.

A spokesman for the parent company of Formula 1, Liberty Media, responded to the complaints in a statement on Friday: “For decades Formula One has worked hard to be a positive force everywhere it races, including bringing economic, social, and cultural benefits.

“Sports like Formula One are uniquely positioned to cross borders and cultures to bring countries and communities together to share the passion and excitement of incredible competition and achievement.

“We take our responsibilities very seriously and have made our position on human rights and other issues clear to all our partners and host countries who commit to respect human rights in the way their events are hosted and delivered.”

Speaking of the news, Chairman and CEO of Formula 1 Chase Carey said: “We are excited to welcome Saudi Arabia to Formula 1 for the 2021 season and welcome their announcement following speculation in recent days.

“Saudi Arabia is a country that is rapidly becoming a hub for sports and entertainment with many major events taking place there in recent years and we are very pleased that Formula 1 will be racing there from next season.

“The region is hugely important to us and with 70 per cent of the population of Saudi being under 30 we are excited about the potential to reach new fans and bring our existing fans around the world exciting racing from an incredible and historic location.

“We will be publishing our full provisional 2021 calendar in the coming weeks and this will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council for approval.”



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