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The world’s richest horse race to be staged in Saudi Arabia

The world’s richest horse race to be staged in Saudi Arabia

The world’s most valuable horse race will be staged this week with the Saudi Cup 2024 set to be bigger than ever.

The King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh will host two days of action from Friday, building up to the main Saudi Cup race on Saturday.
The main race is the richest in the horse racing event in the world, with a purse of $20m (£15.86m) on offer.

“It is, without doubt, the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia, and demonstrates our resolve to develop this great sport,” HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid al-Faisal, chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said after launching the event.

“And also our ambition to become a leading player on horse racing’s world stage.”
Described as one of the Saudi capital’s social events of the season, the Saudi Cup weekend begins on Friday 23 February with an eight-race opening day.

Seven men and seven women will vie for the Invest Saudi International Jockey Challenge trophy across four races. Saudi Cup race night is even bigger, with some of the world’s top thoroughbreds set to race in the main event on Saturday at the close of a nine-race session.


The race is placed in the calendar directly between the Pegasus World Cup in Florida and Dubai World Cup, with the four-week interval between each race allowing horses to compete. It also comes in the thick of the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival, one of the tentpole events in the British racing calendar.
Upgraded to Group 1 status before the 2022 edition, last year’s Saudi Cup was won by Panthalassa, with the Japanese horse taking victory in its retirement season with jockey Yutaka Yoshida guiding him home.

Plenty of big names are expected to be watching on at King Abdulaziz Racetrack to see who succeeds the Yoshito Yahagi-trained horse, with a number top sporting stars now plying their trade in Saudi Arabia.

Investment in the country’s Saudi Pro League has brought in a number of top footballers, with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo often spotted taking in some of the other sporting pursuits on offer, and ex-Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema another famous face contracted to a Saudi club.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has also invested in Newcastle United and established the LIV Golf Series, while the World Snooker Tour recently announced a new ranking event in the nation that will be open to all 128 players with tour cards.