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).