Dubai: The $20m Saudi Cup, world’s richest horserace, will host it’s second edition in Riyadh on Febbruary 19-20 next year, according to Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA).
Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, chairman of JCSA, said they were keen to build on the success of the inaugural Saudi Cup. “It is hard to overstate the success of Saudi Cup 2020 when you consider that in year one of a brand-new international racing event, we attracted some of the very best horses, trainers and jockeys in the world,” he said.
“We witnessed 22 individual Group or Grade 1 winners, who had accumulated an impressive 34 wins at that level between them. That would be an excellent statistic for even the most well-established race meetings in the world, let alone to have that calibre in year one.”
The first staging of the Saudi Cup weekend at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh showcased a number of “firsts” for the Kingdom and saw the JCSA plan and deliver two days of racing on the world stage.
Prince Bandar revealed that prize money across the Saudi Cup card would buck the global trend and increase from $29.2m to $30.5m. Scheduled a week earlier than the inaugural event, the free to enter, free to run 1,800m $20m Saudi Cup remains the highlight of an eight-race card, which now features a boost to the prize money of three dirt races on the undercard.
The 1,600m Saudi Derby sees an increase from $800,000 to $1.5m. The Obaiya Cup for Purebred Arabians held over 2,000m will now be worth $2m, up from $1.9m while the purse for the Jockey Club Local Handicap will double to $1m up from $500,000.
The Saudi Cup will once again see 14 of the world’s best jockeys - seven women, five international men and two Saudi-based jockeys, compete for a championship purse of $100,000 and 15 percent of prize money.
Lisa Allpress became the first woman to win a race in Saudi Arabia in 2020 when the four-time New Zealand champion claimed the opening leg of the challenge.
The overall title was won by another Swiss women jockey Sibylle Vogt with French female rider, Mickaelle Michel second and US Hall of Famer, Mike Smith third. Each of the four legs of the Jockeys Challenge are again worth $400,000 in prize money and contested on the dirt track.
Providing added interest and additional international flavour, the $500,000 Saudi International Handicap will be held over 2,100m of the turf track.