Here's How The Saudi Cup World Record Purse Will Be Won This Weekend
The world’s finest trainers and jockeys will have their eyes firmly fixed on horse racing’s richest purse as the inaugural Saudi Cup takes place at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh this Saturday. The race is set to trump the Dubai World Cup and become the world's richest horse race.
The total prize money of $29.2 million will be shared across the eight races taking place, with the headline race, the Saudi Cup, commanding a lion’s share of $20 million.
The winner of the day’s showpiece and last race in front of the 5000-seat Grandstand will walk away with $10m, with second place claiming $3.5m and $6.5m shared among a starters field that includes the highly rated Maximum Security, Magic Wand, Mucho Gusto, Gift Box and Godolphin’s Benbatl.
The remaining $9.2m will be allocated to the other seven races.
Anticipation for the Saudi Cup has been high ever since it was announced last year, and horse racing fans will finally get a look at the 1,800m (9 furlongs) King Abdulaziz Racetrack in a competitive setting for the first time at the weekend.
Races will take place on both turf and dirt, and the circuit has already been given the thumbs up by some of the sport’s most famous jockeys, including Frankie Dettori, William Buick, James Doyle and Daniel Tudhope, after they took to the track for its first official trial on January 29.
“We really tested the track, we went a good gallop and went as fast as we could round the turn, which was the biggest test we wanted to do,” Dettori said. “The ground is perfect, we want to have it like this race day. The test went with flying colours.”
Kick-starting the Saudi Cup on Friday, February 28, is The Kingdom Day STC International Jockeys Challenge, featuring seven of the best male and seven of the best female riders in the world.
Held over four races of an eight-race card, each leg of the Challenge carries a prize fund of $400,000 while the overall winning jockey stands to land a further $30,000 winner’s purse.
The all-star line-up includes Japanese jockeys Yutaka Take and Nanako Fujita, Italian superstar Dettori, French sensation Mickaëlle Michel, three-time New Zealand Champion, Lisa Allpress, 11-time British Classic-winning rider, Ryan Moore, four-time Breeders’ Cup-winning Frenchman Olivier Peslier, and, from America, the most successful Breeders’ Cup jockey of all time, Mike Smith.
Other contestants include the USA Grade 1 winner, Sophie Doyle, plus the reigning British all-weather champion apprentice, Nicola Currie, and the Swiss-born but German-based Pattern-winning rider, Sibylle Vogt. Canadian legend Emma-Jayne Wilson, winner of over 1,500 races in North America, completes the line-up alongside two top Saudi Arabian-based jockeys: Adel Alfouraidi and a second local rider to be confirmed
Schedule of Races on February 29, 2020 (KSA time)
Neom Turf Cup (Turf)
Distance: 2,100m (1mile 2 and 1/2 furlongs)
The 1352 Turf Sprint (Turf)
Distance: 1351m (6 and 3/4 furlongs)
The Longines Turf Handicap (Turf)
Distance: 3,000m (1mile and 7 furlongs)
The Obaiya Arabian Classic (Dirt)
Distance: 2,000m (1mile and 2 furlongs)
Maghreb prayer: 5.56pm
The Jockey Club Local Handicap (Dirt)
Distance:1,800m (9 furlongs)
The Saudi Derby (Dirt)
Distance: 1,600m (1mile)
Isha prayer: 7.26pm
The Saudia Sprint (Dirt)
Distance: 1,200m (6 furlongs)
The Saudi Cup (Turf)
Distance: 1,800m (9 furlongs)