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The Saudi Cup is a race for thoroughbreds aged four and up, to be run at weight-for-age terms over 1800m (9f), worth $20 Million (USD) with a prize of $10 Million (USD) to the winner.
Organised by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia and run at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Cup is a two-day festival of international racing headlined by the USD$20M Saudi Cup - the world's most valuable race.
Established in 2020 with the second renewal set to be run on Saturday February 20, 2021, the Saudi Cup day card carries a total prize purse of $30.5m and features dirt and turf races for the highest calibre racehorses in the world.
A full card of racing on the preceding Friday includes an International Jockeys Challenge which sees seven female and seven male jockeys compete as individuals as well as the $500,000 Saudi International Handicap for horses trained in IFHA-registered Part II and III racing countries.
The Saudi Cup is charged with raising awareness of horse racing in the country and encouraging participation among men and women throughout the sport. It also aims to promote Saudi Arabia at international level, acting as a marker for the Kingdom's transformational journey, encouraging tourism and investment.
The inaugural running of The Saudi Cup (2020) saw 22 Group or Grade 1 winners compete across an eight-race card for a total prize pot of USD$29.2M. In 2021 the prize purse has been increased to $30.5M and the number of Group and Grade 1 winners entered to run went up to 31.
Adding even more international flavor in February 2021 is the newly founded $500,000 Saudi International Handicap, introduced for horses trained in developing racing nations.
1800m (9f) on dirt | Total race value: $20,000,000
31 Group 1 winners and 19 countries will be represented by over 400 international entries for the second running of The Saudi Cup meeting in February.
The second staging of The Saudi Cup meeting, headlined by the $20m Saudi Cup, has attracted a star-studded list of entries from across the globe.
After a successful inaugural event last year, the two-day meeting, held at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh on 19 and 20 February, has been expanded significantly in 2021 with increased prize money and a new race, resulting in an even stronger list of entries than 12 months ago.
The highlight will once again be the $20M Saudi Cup, the world's most valuable race. The 1800m contest has attracted some high-profile entries, such as Kenny McPeek's top-class Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver (USA), 2020 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Knicks Go (USA) and Charlatan (USA), the winner of the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes.
More than 100 horses from nine countries and a total of 17 Group 1 winners have been entered for the feature race on the dirt and they also include last year's Saudi Derby runner-up Mishriff (GB), while Japan's recently crowned Dirt Horse of the Year (2020), Chuwa Wizard (JPN), is another who could be set to line up having gained an automatic spot for The Saudi Cup when winning last month's Champions Cup.
Gronkowski (KSA), now in the care of Abdulaziz Khalid in Saudi Arabia, has been entered to run in the meeting's highlight again after finishing 10th last year under Frankie Dettori. The locally trained winner of the 2020 Dirt Sprint, New York Central (KSA), has been entered in The Saudi Cup this year as has local hero, Alzahzaah (KSA), trained by Shaleh Alotalbi, winner of his last four starts, the latest being the domestic Grade 1, the Crown Prince Cup last month.
Chairman - Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal
Welcome to the Saudi Cup 2021.
This is an exciting milestone for the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia as we look forward to the second staging of what is certainly the most significant development in the country's horse racing history.
The first ever Saudi Cup meeting featured 22 Group or Grade 1 winners, who had accumulated 34 wins at that level between them. We had runners from ten different countries and celebrated five overseas winners across eight races.
As part of the inaugural event, we welcomed the first women to ride under rules in Saudi Arabia and witnessed four-time New Zealand champion Lisa Allpress become the first female jockey to win a race in the Kingdom. This was part of the International Jockeys' Challenge in which 14 of the world's best male and female jockeys took part, with Sibylle Vogt being crowned champion.
We have a lot to live up to in 2021 and to reflect our commitment to the sport we have increased the meeting's prize money and introduced a new race aimed at horses from Part 2 and Part 3 racing nations.
The world in which we now find ourselves looks very different to the one in which we began this exciting journey just 12 months ago, yet racing is a resilient sport and all over the world it has found a way to continue despite the effects of the global pandemic.
We have learned from all the jurisdictions who have successfully staged big race days and are working alongside the authorities to deliver the safest and most accessible event we can.
Sadly, due to the effects of Covid-19, The Saudi Cup 2021 is an invite-only event held behind closed doors and observing strict covid-19 safety protocols.
Yet we want to showcase the world's best racehorses to as many people as possible and we invite all race fans, near and far, to tune in and join us on the biggest adventure in Saudi Arabian racing - the second running of world's most valuable race, The Saudi Cup 2021.
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