King Faisal Cup in Taif & Obaiya Arabian Classic in Riyadh now the two premier races for Purebred Arabians in The Kingdom.
The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) is to host its second international Listed race for Purebred Arabians this weekend – the SAR1m King Faisal Cup held over 1600m in Ta’if.
The new race stands alongside the JCSA’s other Listed contest, the USD$2m 2000m Obaiya Arabian Classic which is run on Saudi Cup day in Riyadh, as a major target for the country’s top Purebred Arabians.
Staged at King Khalid Racecourse, the JCSA’s summer headquarters situated 800km north of Riyadh, the King Faisal Cup will be held on the final Friday (September 10, 2021) of the summer racing season and is open to three-year-old colts and fillies.
Also on the card are three new thoroughbred contests including the SAR500,000 ($133,333) Okaz Open Cup held over 2000m and two SAR300,000 ($80,000) Ta’if Cup races over a mile for three-year-old colts and fillies respectively. Earlier cards during the Ta’if season had also seen big-money races for juveniles held over 1400m as well as a programme of races for apprentice jockeys.
King Khalid Racecourse is a 1600m oval dirt track, which is used as a summer base for Saudi Arabia’s racing industry. The venue recently benefitted from the addition of a 1600m chute and is the focus of several ongoing redevelopments, including additional stables and facilities.
With its stated commitments to enhance the domestic racing offering and attain Part II status in the IFHA country ranking, the JCSA has implemented a new-look racing calendar in Ta’if for the 2021 season. This innovation saw the addition of more race categories allowing trainers to prepare horses for the upcoming Riyadh season, which kicks off on October 6, 2021 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse, the home of the USD$20m Saudi Cup.
Salem Binmafhooz, Director of Racing at the JCSA said: “We are all very much looking forward to the inaugural running of the King Faisal Cup for Purebred Arabians on Friday. We held a prep race two weekends ago which was won in good style by the Haddy Hamad Al Marzoq-owned Nabil Al Khalediah II for trainer, Hamad Al Rasheed.
“This race, as well as other additions to the summer racing calendar are designed to complement the Riyadh season, allowing trainers to get more races into different categories of horses that may not get as many opportunities in the capital.
“We are always looking for ways to innovate and enhance the sport in The Kingdom and are very fortunate that in Saudi Arabia we can race all year round thanks to the climate in our northern regions.”