The upcoming 2023-24 Riyadh season, which will run from 26 October 2023 to 16 March 2024, will see a prize money increase of seven per cent on 2022-23 as well as an increase in the number of races run at King Abdulaziz Racecourse, where the highlight is The Saudi Cup meeting in February.
This season there will be a total of 700 races run over 59 race meetings, an increase of 56 races on last season, while total prize money for the season excluding the Saudi Cup meeting will rise USD1.5m to a total of USD21.9m.
Race meetings will now comprise of 12 races as opposed to 11, with every race day having 10 races for Thoroughbreds and two for Purebred Arabians.
There will be a significant increase in races for Purebred Arabians over the course of the season, with a further 66 races added to the calendar, including a new cup race, the USD80,000 Abdulaziz Bin Musa'id Bin Jalooey Cup, which will be run for the first time on 10 February 2024.
Five Purebred Arabian contests have been introduced to the pattern this season and will be run as Listed contests, with the JCSA Cup (25 November) and one new, yet to be named Listed race (18 November), set to be run later this year, while in 2024, the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Sword (13 January), The Sprint Championship (8 March) and the King Abdulaziz Racecourse Championship (9 March) will all be run as Purebred Arabian Listed events.
In addition, there will be three other new Cup races for Thoroughbreds added to the Riyadh calendar, with the Imam Mohammed Bin Saud Cup, worth USD240,000, a notable addition to the Kings’ Cups race day on 13 January 2024, with the other new Cup races being the USD80,000 Prince Saad Bin Abdulrahman Bin Faisal Cup (19 January 2024) and the USD80,000 Prince Fahad Bin Jalawi Cup (10 February).
A further development this season will see the Listed Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup, shortened in distance to 1800m, the same trip as the USD20m Saudi Cup, to better reflect its status as a key qualifier for that contest.
The dates for The Saudi Cup meeting have been confirmed as 23-24 February 2024, and the meeting will once again carry an enormous prize fund of USD35.4m, with The Saudi Cup (USD20m) itself maintaining its position as the most valuable race in the world.
For the first time this season, The Saudi Cup meeting will feature three international G1s, after the Al Mneefah Cup for Purebred Arabians, run the day before The Saudi Cup, was promoted to G1 status this season.
HRH Prince Abdullah bin Khaled bin sultan bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the JCSA’s Technical Committee, said: “The announcement of the 2023-24 Riyadh programme marks the JCSA’s continued commitment to the growth of racing in The Kingdom.
“The Riyadh programme, held throughout the Autumn, Winter and Spring at King Abdulaziz Racecourse builds on the success of the Ta'if Summer Season and leads the Saudi Arabian racing community into The Saudi Cup weekend and beyond to the conclusion of the season in March and then potentially an international campaign for the top performers.
“This season the Listed Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup will be run as an 1800m race for the first time, making it a true prep for The Saudi Cup which is held over the same course and distance. In addition we have added to our Purebred Arabian programme with almost double the amount of races on offer. Every race night will now feature 10 Thoroughbred races and two Purebred Arabian contests, underlining our continued commitment to developing this code of racing both in Saudi Arabia and beyond.
“We expect to announce further updates to the 23-24 programme in the coming weeks and look forward to a successful and exciting Riyadh season."