Organisers reveal more details for world's richest race at Riyadh track

More details have been revealed concerning plans to stage what could be the world’s richest race in Saudi Arabia at the new King Abdulaziz Horse Championship next February, a meeting which could offer total prize-money of $29 million.

The main event at the King Abdulaziz track in Riyadh, which will be staged on dirt over ten furlongs, is expected to carry a purse of between $15 to 20m and surpass the Dubai World Cup as the premier race in the Middle East.

The Saudi Arabian Equestrian Club also hopes to establish a prep race ahead of the big day, along the lines of Dubai’s Super Saturday concept that acts as a feeder for the Dubai World Cup meeting.

“There will be around eight to ten races on the big day,” Saleh Al-Hammadi, director general and secretary of the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Club and general manager of the King Abdulaziz Horse Championship, told Arab News.

“The big race will be something like $15-20 million. Of course the Pegasus World Cup is $16 million but people pay $1 million to participate, so it is different. For the other races on the big night we are looking to start at $1 million.”

Saudi Arabia is the latest country to join in a spiralling contest to stage the world's richest race.

The longtime holder of that title, the Dubai World Cup, is worth $10m and still offers the biggest purse for a race with traditional entry conditions.

The Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream eclipses that figure at $16m, although potential runners must buy a slot in that race, while the Everest in Sydney employs a similar model in assembling its field in pursuit of a total prize pool of A$10m (£5.47m/€6.27m).