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What to expect as The Saudi Cup races into Riyadh this weekend

An incredible $20 million purse, two days of racing action, and plenty of entertainment that celebrates Saudi culture…

Now recognised as the world’s most valuable horse race, the third edition of The Saudi Cup will take place over a two-day event this weekend. In the world of horse racing, The Saudi Cup is one of the most significant calendar events. For 2022, the two-day international event will return to the King Abdulaziz Racecourse on February 25 and 26, with some of the world’s leading racehorses and jockeys in attendance.

The races

This year, racing is spread over two days, with total prize money across the two-day meeting set at $35.1million, making it the most valuable fixtures in global horse racing. Across the two-day meeting, races include the International Jockeys Challenge (IJC), 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. Of course, it all concludes with The Saudi Cup race, which will this year see horses from 22 countries around the world compete. The prize money for this race alone stands at $20million.

On Friday February 25, the first race kicks off at 3.15pm, with the Al Mneefah Cup presented by The Ministry of Culture concluding day one proceedings at 6.55pm.

On Saturday February 26, the racing action starts with The Neom Turf Cup presented by Jahez, and the eight-race afternoon finishes with The Saudi Cup at 8.35pm.

ALSO READ: 10 fun facts about The Saudi Cup

Off the track action

There’s plenty of other things to see and do across the two-day event, with a roster of entertainment lined-up for race goers.

At the Horse Heritage Museum, witness the history and culture of horse racing in the kingdom, admiring a collection of  antique pieces and drawings on display from the Museum Commission. There’s also an immersive room that tells the story of The History of Horses in Saudi Arabia in virtual reality, and The Dome, where the history of horses in cinema will offer another immersive experience.

Art fans can look forward to Seven Kings Horses, an art installation that represents the dynasty of the Seven Kings of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and amongst the culinary highlights the dedicated Coffee Lounge will showcase the five regional flavours of the Kingdom’s traditional drink.

Those with little ones can hang out at the outdoor kids zone, with equestrian-related activities and crafts available  to fans of all ages.

Then there’s also the 100 Saudi Brands initiative, a program for Saudi fashion designers selected to take part in a rigorous year-long experience. Designers have been working tirelessly ahead of the event and will showcase sustainable and inclusive traditional looks, interpreted for modern-day wear. Prepare to be dazzled as you journey through four categories set to be presented at The Saudi Cup: Modest, Ready-To-Wear, Demi-Couture and Premium collections.

Location

The King Abdulaziz Racecourse is located north of Riyadh in Janadriyah, near the King Khalid International Airport.

King Abdulaziz Racetrack, Riyadh, February 25 and 26, from SAR86.25. thesaudicup.com.sa

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