Saudi Cup horse race returns with 30 mn prize

Without public but with TV coverage for second edition

18 January, 13:44

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, JANUARY 18 - The second edition of the Saudi Cup horse race will be held in Riyadh without a public, due to Covid-19. The two-day event organized at the King Abdulaziz racetrack on February 19-20 will see some of the best jockeys in the world compete.

    The race will only be covered by television networks and it is a highly anticipated horse race in the Arabic peninsula where passion for the sport is huge.

    The event will only be open to horses and those connected to the race, including possibly a limited number of owners, within the full respect of social distancing measures, Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, the chairman of the Equestrian High Commission of Saudi Arabia, told The National newspaper. Despite the absence of the public, sponsors have increased by 600% compared to last year. Bandar said there had been a ''huge jump'' in interest compared to last year ''so without coronavirus, who's to say whether it might have been even larger'', The National reports.

    ''Very few sponsors came in'' last year ''but there's definitely a much bigger interest domestically here in the kingdom, for sponsorship, and we are very exited about that prospect'', he was also quoted as saying.

    The event, like the Dakar and Formula One race in November, is part of a strategy to show to the world Saudi Arabia's evolution from a touristic standpoint and prove the country is not only investing in hydrocarbons but is instead diversifying with sectors like tourism, technology, sport and entertainment.

    Indeed, the non-oil sector grew for the third consecutive month in November. The government is also working on transport and hospitality ahead of the post-Covid phase with projects of construction of large tourism centers to visit the country's cultural heritage sites.

    Saudi Arabia has created the Saudi Cup horse race by consulting the best operators worldwide with the highest total prize pot in the world worth 29 million dollars in the first edition and a focus on the final race of the Saudi Cup worth 20 million. The prize pot this year totals 30.5 million dollars with competitors from 19 countries. (ANSA).

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