(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will host the world’s richest horse race in Riyadh at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack next year, with a purse of $20 million (£16.4 million) up for grabs, the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia said on Thursday.
The Saudi Cup, which will be run over nine furlongs (1800 metres) on dirt on Feb. 29, will have a maximum 14 runners, with the winner set to land $10 million.
The prize money at the Saudi Cup will eclipse the $16 million purse at the Pegasus World Cup Invitational in Florida last year.
“The introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race is without doubt the most signiﬁcant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia,” Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal said in a statement.
“We look forward to welcoming international horsemen and women, the media, racing enthusiasts and the public to Riyadh in 2020.”
Frankie Dettori, three-times British flat racing’s champion jockey, is impressed by the track.
“Of all the dirt tracks I’ve ridden, it’s the one I like best, as you can win from the front, and you can win from behind. It’s a fair track,” the 48-year-old said.
“The other thing I like is that the kickback is so much less than on other dirt tracks. I don’t know why, but the sand seems ﬁner and doesn’t stick.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)