The Saudi Summer Horse Racing Season Reduced to 39 Race Dates

Asfan Al Khalediah won the Ta’if Arabian Derby last season
Credit: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

16 May2024, KSA ~ Racing in Saudi Arabia will resume on Thursday, 4 July with a refined campaign at King Khalid Racecourse in Ta’if.

Dates: 4 July – 28 September

The 2024 season gets underway five weeks later than in 2023 meaning the total number of meetings has reduced to 39, with the season culminating on Saturday 28 September.

Prize Money Updated

As a result of the more selective fixture list, the new Ta’if season will feature a redistribution in prize money for 2024, with the average value of races rising to SAR 104,378 (pprox.. $27,800), up 24 percent on last season.

The reduction from an 18-week to a 13-week season will aim to focus the campaign on more competitive racing.

There will be more handicap races in 2024, with 120 contests (up from 79) – 56 for local and imported horses (up from 35) and 64 for locally-bred horses only (up from 44) – which will provide more competition and winnable opportunities across the campaign.

Thoroughbred Races, 273 – Arabian races, 78

Of the total 351 races in the 2024 Ta’if season, 273 will be thoroughbred races, with 78 races for Purebred Arabians.

Highlights in the calendar include the international Listed Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Cup and international Listed King Faisal Cup – both races for Purebred Arabians and each worth SAR 1 million (pprox.. $267,000) – run on Friday September 20, while the SAR 400,000 Ta’if Derby takes place on Saturday 24 August.

Beginning with the Ta’if Flower Festival Cup on July 19, a further 32 Cup races will be run during the 2024 season, culminating in the three King Khalid Racecourse Championship Cups on the final day of the campaign.

This season will also feature prep races for all Cups, looking to provide all horses with stepping stones to rise through the grades.

HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the JCSA’s Technical Committee, said: “The new Taif programme has been developed following consultation with trainers and owners. We wanted to ensure that our summer racing programme was as competitive as possible and afforded the right kind of opportunities to the horse population in Saudi Arabia.

“We have created more handicaps as well as prep races for all major cups, offering a clear campaign path to horses and an opportunity to rise through the ranks and follow through to the Riyadh season.”

Attend in person

General admission is free (excluding King Faisal Cup and National Day race nights) providing trackside access to an evening of top-class racing including complimentary grandstand seating plus on many nights during the season live music, family entertainment, retail outlets, outstanding street-food and restaurant options. On major cup nights you can also win great prizes by guessing the winning horse for each race. Guests will be able to register to access a free ticket. Premier Enclosure is from 35 SAR providing all the benefits of General Admission plus access to the prestigious Nabd Al Nadi pavilion – which offers even closer proximity to the racing action – plus access to its Afternoon Tea lounge, mixology station and Hateeb, and its à la carte menu overseen by award-winning Executive Chef, Fadi Mneimneh.