Saudi Cup 2023 - The Worlds Richest Race

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Saudi Cup Press Release
Updated: February 16, 2023
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The Saudi Cup is a dirt 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.

When is the 2023 Saudi Cup?

On Saturday February 25th, 2023, an afternoon and evening also including an undercard of international contests on the new inside turf course and on the dirt.

Where is the Saudi Cup?

The Saudi Cup is raced on the one-turn dirt oval at King Abdulaziz Racetrack, Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

The USD $20M Saudi Cup, the highlight of the FEB 24-25 weekend, is a global Group 1 flat race held over 1800m and is the richest race in the world.

Won in 2022 by Prince Saud bin Salman Abdulaziz's local runner Emblem Road (USA), now one of the most famous horses in the world, The Saudi Cup is beamed into more than 350 million homes worldwide.

It is shown in every corner of the globe from the USA and Europe to China, South America and Southeast Asia. For the 2023 Saudi Cup the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia is throwing open the gates and inviting spectators to join us at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh to witness firsthand the fourth running of this spectacular horse race.

As well as The Saudi Cup, the raceday also features five highly regarded Group 3 races on both dirt and turf, the Group 2 Obaiya Arabian Classic for Purebred Arabian racehorses and the Jockey Club Handicap for locally-trained horses.


1800m (9f) on dirt | Total race value: $20,000,000

  • $10,000,000 to the winning horse.
  • The second to receive $3,500,000, the third $2,000,000, the fourth $1,500,000, the fifth $1,000,000, the sixth $600,000, the seventh $500,000, the eighth $400,000, the ninth $300,000, the tenth $200,000.
  • Open to Northern Hemisphere four-year-olds and upwards and Southern Hemisphere three-year-olds and upwards.
  • Free to enter and free to run.
  • Supplementary entry for non-original entries: $200,000.
  • Weights: Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere four-year-olds and upwards: 57kg / 126lb. Southern Hemisphere three-year-olds: 53.5kg / 118lb. Fillies and mares allowed 2kg / 4lb.
  • Maximum field size: 14 runners.
  • Lasix and Bute will not be allowed in the Saudi Cup.
  • Horses who finish first, second or third in the Pegasus World Cup will be invited for the Saudi Cup even if not previously entered.

Frankie Dettori To Ride Country Grammer In 2023 Saudi Cup

FEB 7 - Frankie Dettori will team up with last year's runner-up Country Grammer in the $20 million Saudi Cup on what he considers the "best dirt track in the world".

The 52-year-old jockey has already enjoyed one massive victory on the American star when landing last year's Dubai World Cup.

Now he has his sights set on the world's most-valuable race at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Dettori is currently riding in America as part of his worldwide farewell tour having announced his intention to retire from the saddle at this year's Breeders' Cup meeting in November following a glittering career.

His first winner in the USA this winter came on Country Grammer, trained by Bob Baffert, when landing the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on Boxing Day.

Dettori said: "The first day I came here to America to ride he took me by surprise. A lot of pressure was on, there were 40,000 people here and he was a big favorite so, of course, I wanted the horse to win.

"He won in style and I was super pleased with him. He still retains all the ability he had last year.

"Bob made it very clear to me that The Saudi Cup was going to be the next target, that's why he didn't run in the Pegasus. Touch wood, at the moment, it's all systems go for The Saudi Cup."

Country Grammer was ridden by Flavien Prat when he was overhauled by surprise winner Emblem Road in last year's Saudi Cup.

Dettori watched his American career closely for the rest of the year. He was an interested viewer when the 6-year-old finished a distant runner-up behind US superstar Flightline in the Group 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar in September.

Dettori laughed: "I texted Bob Baffert after Flightline had beaten him 19 lengths saying 'that was a good run'. He said to me 'Country Grammer thought he won because he never saw Flightline'.

"In fairness, he's a super consistent horse, he's unphased by anything. He's had a good season and there was always the aim to go back to The Saudi Cup this year.

"He's very straightforward. I think the way the season went for him last year just showed he's very versatile and that he can perform in other countries. He's very solid and I'm very pleased to be able to ride him.

"There's still a couple of weeks to go and I hope he ships to Saudi in one piece. When you've got a 6-year-old, you are kind of confident travelling isn't going to be an issue, but he's got to bring his A-game and he's got to be a tough cookie."

Last year's winner Emblem Road is expected to lock horns with Country Grammer once again in the $20 million Saudi Cup. American raider Scotland Yard and star British filly Saffron Beach are also due to line up in the 1800m (1 1/8-mile) dirt prize, while Panthalassa is likely to head a strong Japanese contingent.

Dettori believes Taiba, also trained by Baffert, could pose the biggest threat to his stablemate. He landed the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Boxing Day when the former British Champion Jockey trailed in last on outsider Perfect Flight.

He said: "Taiba made a great comeback run the other day and he's got fresh legs with little mileage on the clock. He is one of the horses I would fear as he's got plenty to give."

It promises to be a busy weekend for Dettori. He is expecting to pick up other big-race rides for Baffert in the supporting races on the Saudi Cup card and he will partner Ebor hero Trawlerman in the $2.5 million Longines Red Sea Handicap for old allies John and Thady Gosden.

The superstar rider will also take part in the International Jockeys Challenge on the first day of the world's most-valuable race meeting on Friday, Feb. 24. He will join Brazilian star Joao Moreira and Japanese rider Yuga Kawada in the unique event that pits seven of the world's best male riders against seven top female jockeys.

There is a total of $35.35m prize money on offer over the two-day Saudi Cup festival making it the most-valuable race meeting anywhere in the world. It will all take place at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh and Dettori could not speak highly enough of the course.

He said: "I've been going to Saudi for the last 30 years. I'm not just saying this because we're talking about The Saudi Cup, but I think this new track is the best dirt track in the world.

"It's a beautiful layout and the sand is not as harsh as some of the American tracks. Turf horses can do really well on it and it brings the two categories closer together.

"The Saudi Cup is established as one of the main events in the racing calendar and I'm very much looking forward to it. The Jockeys Challenge will give me the last chance to ride with some great jockeys from around the world. It will be great fun."

About the Saudi Cup

The Saudi Cup is the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia's marquee event and 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 an international level, acting as a marker for the Kingdom's transformational journey, encouraging tourism and investment.

Horseracing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stretches back more than five decades since the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia was formed in 1965. Racing traditionally took place on a 2000m left-handed dirt track until the introduction of a 1800m turf track in February 2020, on time for the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting, which was heralded as the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia.

First run in 2020 and organised by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, The Saudi Cup is a two-day international racing festival, headlined by the USD$20m The Saudi Cup - the world's most valuable race. The meeting takes place on the last weekend of February at King Abdulaziz racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Total prize money for The Saudi Cup 2023 stands at USD$ 31.5m and attracts the world's highest rated racehorses.

The fourth renewal of the festival will open with the STC International Jockeys Challenge day on the Friday, which sees seven female and seven male jockeys from Australia, Europe, Japan, the United States of America, as well as two local jockeys compete as individuals in four races, each worth USD$400,000. Races are open to locally trained horses only and are run over a variety of distances on dirt and turf, ranging from a 1200m sprint to a middle-distance race over 1800m.

Jockeys collect 15 points for a victory with the next four finishers scoring 10, 7, 4 and 2 points. In addition to prizemoney earned in a race, competing jockeys share a prize pot of USD$ 100,000.

Last year's STC International Jockeys Challenge was won by Australian jockey Caitlin Jones who will be invited back to King Abdulaziz Racecourse in 2023 to defend her title.

Adding further international flavour to the Friday card is the 2100m USD$500,000 Saudi International Handicap for horses trained in IFHA registered Part II and III racing countries.

The Saturday is all about the Group 1 $20m Saudi Cup where the world's top class horses and jockeys compete for the ultimate prize in racing over 1800m of the King Abdulaziz dirt track. It is the final contest on an eight-race card that sees horses from around the world compete on dirt and on turf for a share of the USD$35.35m total prize pot.

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 2022 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.

In 2022 the meeting received a record number of entries from 22 countries, including 70 individual Group 1 or Grade 1 winners.


Chairman - Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal

Welcome to the Saudi Cup 2023

Now in its fourth year and worth a new total of USD 35.35M, The Saudi Cup meeting allows Saudi's racing fraternity to host the world's best during our celebration of this great sport for two days at the end of February each year.

The JCSA is sharply focused on two areas of development: our domestic growth as a sustainable sporting and entertainment industry and our profile as an international facing and upwardly mobile racing jurisdiction.

Since we launched The Saudi Cup in 2020 it has served as a shopfront for Saudi racing, showcasing our best talent and inspiring progression from grass roots to elite level.

As a gathering of the best racing minds at one of the most international meetings held anywhere in the world, The Saudi Cup also facilitates the open flow of information and ideas that positively impacts the future of racing, not just in The Kingdom, but everywhere.

At its core The Saudi Cup provides a stage for the best in the world to come together and compete for the sport's most valuable prizes. The weekend's international races are supported by an undercard designed to provide world stage opportunities for the JCSA's biggest assets - our owners, trainers and jockeys.

Add to the mix two Group races for Purebred Arabians and a contest for the best from Part III and II racing countries and, of course, the always popular International Jockeys Challenge (IJC). This year the IJC features an additional turf race, making this competition a true test of jockey skill across the two surfaces and a variety of distances ranging from 1200m to 2100m.

On the subject of Purebred Arabian racing, we are delighted to announce the upgrade of the Obaiya Arabian Classic to a Group 1 and the Al Mneefah Cup, after its inaugural running, has been upgraded to a Group 2. These international classifications are further evidence of our commitment to this code of racing and our desire to provide a competitive global forum in which the world's best Purebred Arabians can compete.

Back in the Thoroughbred ranks, we have also added a new 1800m USD$500,000 race on the Friday for locally-trained horses, providing a Saudi Cup-day stage for The Kingdom's best middle distance Thoroughbreds.

We hope that we can welcome you to King Abdulaziz Racecourse this February and look forward to receiving your free nominations by Wednesday January 4, 2023.

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