Breeders’ Cup and Preakness Winners Feature Among Strong Saudi Cup Entries

Al Mneefah Cup for Purebred Arabians, another turf race, will also run as a Group 1 for the first time

White Abarrio

Breeders’ Cup winner, White Abarrio, holds an entry to The Saudi Cup this February. Credit: Mathea Kelley

12 January 2024, Saudi Cup ~ Among the hopefuls for the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia-organised race weekend are 41 Group or Grade 1 winners with strong support from the powerhouses of the USA with 123 horses listed and Japan – the country that produced the 2023 winner, Panthalassa – which has 110 entries.

This year’s event at King Abdulaziz Racecourse will include a new prize fund worth an additional $2.25m compared to the 2023 renewal. The increase reflects the upgrades of the 2,100m Neom Turf Cup and the 1351 Turf Sprint to international Group 2, while the 2100m Al Mneefah Cup for Purebred Arabians, another turf race, will also run as a Group 1 for the first time.

Two Arabian Races are Group 1PA

The Saudi Cup’s two Arabian races, the Obaiya Arabian Classic on the Saturday and the Al Mneefah Cup on the Friday card are now, for the first time, both Group 1PA races. As befits their status and thanks to prize money of $2m and $1.5m respectively, some of the world’s best Arabians have been entered.

They include past winners Tilal Al Khalediah (KSA) (Obaiya), Asfan Al Khalediah (KSA) (Al Mneefah) and First Classs (USA) (Al Mneefah). Also among the entries are previously placed horses such as Hamdani Al Khalediah (KSA) (Obaiya), Sultana (GB) (Al Mneefah), Bint Ghaliat Al Khalediah (KSA) (Al Mneefah), Dergham Athbah (UAE) (Al Mneefah) and Soko (FR) (Al Mneefah).

Other eye-catching entries include up-and-coming young black type winners, Arjad Athbah (GB), Ghadah (FR), Mutbahy Athbah (FR) and Najeeb Al Zaman (FR) as well as some exciting local four-year-olds, Nadem Al Molwk Al Khalediah (KSA) and Vizhir (FR).

Saudi Cup International Winners Compete

Saudi Cup Entries

Saudi Cup Entries

Amongst the highlights of the Saudi Cup are 2023 Whitney and Breeders Cup Classic winner, White Abarrio (USA) and ultra tough Breeders Cup Classic second Derma Sotagake (JPN), Preakness winner National Treasure (USA) and Malibu Stakes winner Speed Boat Beach (USA).

Group 1 stars, Luxembourg (IRE), Warm Heart (IRE), Mawj (IRE), Art Power (IRE), Simca Mille (IRE) and Double Major (IRE) feature among the high profile European entries.

The reigning 2023 Red Sea Turf Handicap and 1351 Turf Sprint winners Silver Sonic (JPN) and Bathrat Leon (JPN) have been entered for a shot at defending their titles and fan favourite, Casa Creed (USA) holds an entry that could see him take to the King Abdulaziz turf for a third consecutive year, having finished second in the 1351 Turf Sprint in 2022 and 2023

From Japan the 2023 Dubai World Cup winner, Ushba Tesoro (JPN) holds an entry as well as The Dubai Golden Shaheen winner, Sibelius (USA).

Top Japanese dirt horse and Champions Cup winner, Lemon Pop (USA) holds his place in the Saudi Cup entries after winning the qualifier in Chukyo last month.

The Bahrain international Trophy winner, Spirit Dancer (GB) who gained an automatic place in the Neom Turf Cup, also features among the entries.

From the domestic ranks, the former USA trained Defunded (USA) now representing KSA and 2023 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques winner, Scotland Yard (USA) have been entered in the Saudi Cup as well as the King Abdullah Stable’s exciting three-year-old Taybah Fail (KSA) who could line up in the Saudi Derby.

About The Saudi Cup

Organised by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) and run at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh on the last weekend in February each year, The Saudi Cup is a two-day celebration of international racing headlined by the Group 1 USD$20m Saudi Cup – the world’s most valuable race. The Saudi Cup race weekend is further enhanced by an undercard of two Group 2 races and three Group 3 races for Thoroughbreds as well as two Group 1 contests for Purebred Arabians.

~ end Saudi Cup