News is out, the US$20m Saudi Cup will be run on Sunday 20 February 2021 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh with total prizemoney now US$30.5m for the Saudi Cup meeting.
“It’s hard to overstate the success of Saudi Cup 2020 when you consider that in year one of a brand-new international racing event we have attracted the best,” said HRH Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal
As Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, Prince Bandar is keen to build on the success of the inaugural Saudi Cup in attracting some of the very best horses, trainers and jockeys in the world.
“With the changes we bring to Saudi Cup 2021 we hope to offer the racing and sporting public the most interesting and intriguing race cards possible, whether in person or watching from home.”
The $20m Saudi Cup continues as the ‘world’s richest race’ run over 1800m on dirt, with NH and SH 4yo and older males weighted on 57kg, mares 55kg, and SH 3yo males 55.5kg and fillies 51.5kg.
There is no understating that the inaugural winner Maximum Security made ’headlines’ and now with new trainer Bob Baffert is 5/1 for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.
Maximum Security has since won San Diego Handicap, a three length victory in the Pacific Classic Stakes, but then suffered a defeat by stable mate Improbable in the Awesome Again Stakes.
Also from The Saudi Cup, Midnight Bisou, Tacitus, McKinzie, Chrysoberyl and Magic Wand have since ‘won Group races indicating that horses traveling to the Saudi Cup return to good global campaigns.’
Now carrying a $1.5m purse, the Saudi Derby of 1600m on dirt is up from $800,000, and has 3yo males weighted 57kg, fillies on 55kg, with weight changes considered if South Hemisphere entries received.
The inaugural Saudi Derby second placing Mishriff, trained by John Gosden at Newmarket, went onto win all three starts including the Prix du Jockey-Club, the French Derby.
On the local scene, The Obaiya Arabian Classic is now worth $2m, up from $1.9m, and is for Arabian horses 4yo and upwards run on dirt run over 2000m.
The Jockey Club Local Handicap has risen from $50,000 to $1m, and is a local bred open handicap for 4yo+ run over 1800m on dirt.
The additional Cup Day is unchanged with The Red Sea Turf Handicap of $2.5m for 4yo+ on turf over 3000m, seeing the Freddy Head trained Call The Wind since win at Gr2 and Gr3 level in France.
The Riyadh Dirt Sprint of $1.5m is for 3yo+ at 1200m, The Neom Turf Cup of $1m at 2100m is for 4yo+ and The 1351 Turf Sprint carrying $1m, open 4yo+ at 1351 metres.
New to the International Jockeys Challenge Day is The Saudi International Handicap of 2100m on turf being open to 4yo and upwards and rated between 85 and 110.
Four-times New Zealand champion Lisa Allpress became the first woman to win a race in Saudi Arabia in winning race one of the Jockey Challenge. The Swiss female jockey Sibylle Vogt was the overall winner, ahead of French female rider Mickaelle Michel with US Hall of Fame Mike Smith third.
“To have the sport’s key players bring their horses to an untested and unproven event and furthermore to see the progressive form that those horses have displayed since is something for the JCSA to be proud,” stated Tom Ryan, the JCSA Director of Strategy and International Racing.
“The strength of form to come out of our event acts as a great advert to trainers and owners next year. Nevertheless, it’s a difficult time to stage large-scale global events and we know that now the real hard work begins, with us keeping the lines of communication open.”