Home » Top tier horse race to be staged in Saudi Arabia

Top tier horse race to be staged in Saudi Arabia

The King Abdulaziz Equestrian Field in Riyadh will host two days of action from Friday, building up to the main Saudi Cup race on Saturday.

The Saudi Cup is held at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh (Getty Images)

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. Organised by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the event showcases the historical and cultural significance of horses and horseracing in the Kingdom.

Yutaka Yoshida ridding Panthalassa wins the Saudi Cup 2023 (Getty Images)

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. Winning horses each receive a specially designed rug commissioned by The Ministry of Culture.

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.

Yutaka Yoshida rode Panthalassa to victory last year (Getty Images)

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.

Frankie Dettori riding Elite Power wins the Riyadh Dirt Sprint during the Saudi Cup 2023 (Getty Images)

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.