Dubai: “The Saudi Cup is about creating an iconic moment in the global racing calendar, but also — at its heart — it is about growing our sport in the Kingdom for the Kingdom. It is providing all of us here in the racing community of Saudi Arabia with wonderful new opportunities. For the first time, Saudi jockeys, trainers and owners will be able to pit their talents and their horses against some of the best in the sport. The chance to compete against the world’s finest is the chance to learn from the best.”

Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia.

“These races will offer terrific targets for a range of horses — from sprinters to stayers, plus a mile race for three-year-olds which is worth a good deal more than the early classics. I’m already thinking about which horses I could take.”

John Gosden, legendary British trainer

“I’ve never ridden a horse that hasn’t faced the kickback there [Saudi Arabia]. I really can’t fault it — it’s one of the nicest dirt tracks I’ve ever ridden on.”

James Doyle, multiple Group 1 winning Godolphin jockey

“The racetrack in Riyadh is one of the finest in the world and I think it will be good for Saudi Arabia to showcase this in the first place. From my experience, the surface is the safest for horses and second to none while the club also has a great infrastructure. Over the past few years, the Middle East has invested a lot of money in horse racing and I think it will be good for the region to be showcased as well. Perhaps, Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the more glorious image when compared to us, but that doesn’t mean that the people shouldn’t be showcased. I hope this new race attracts a lot of people from outside, and I believe that we may go there to run there if we have the horses. I am confident the race will be successful.”

Nicholas Bachalard, French trainer who formally worked in the Kingdom

“The quality of the dirt track in Riyadh is second to none. I’ve ridden European horses on it, and they take to it really well, and the new turf track will give the day even more appeal. The welcome awaiting any jockey competing in the Kingdom is exceptional. The hospitality of the Saudi racing fraternity is amazing and there is a real passion for the sport. I hope I’ll be there on the starting line come February 29.”

Frankie Dettori, world famous jockey

“It is definitely always nice to have competition between sporting countries as it will attract players from all over the world. This race in particular will play a major role as we can have some horses who may be old and owners may be thinking of retiring them. But with this race coming along they may think of having one final shot at some big prize money. These are very exciting times for our sport and we look forward the excitement the announcement has generated. The Saudis, led by Prince Bandar, are preparing for it in full force. I wasn’t there at the launch, but I hear that the Americans have been taking a special interest in the race.”

Amer Abdulaziz, owner Phoenix Thoroughbreds

— Complied by Alaric Gomes