Saudi Cup prepares for immersive cultural event as jockeys compete for largest prize fund in the world

On 19 and 20 February distinguished guests from the world’s horse racing community will gather at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack for the Kingdom’s flagship racing event: the Saudi Cup, which has a prize fund of more than US$30 million – the largest purse of any horse race in the world. 

In recognition of the important role horses have played throughout the Kingdom’s history, the Ministry of Culture, with support from its sector Commissions, has curated an immersive experience to celebrate this link.

A Ministry of Culture Spokesperson said: “The Saudi Cup is one of the most anticipated and prestigious events in the Kingdom’s racing calendar. We are delighted to be showcasing elements of the Kingdom’s cultural identity here at the Saudi Cup by highlighting some of our finest fashion, culinary, music and artistic talent. We were inspired to combine Saudi’s rich heritage with contemporary talent and creativity to produce this immersive experience for the Cup’s spectators.”

Race meetings are always a major highlight in the fashion calendar. This year, the Ministry’s Fashion Commission has collaborated with fashion heritage expert, Dr. Laila Albassam and illustrator, Norah Sahman to design a special dress code for the Royal Enclosure. Racegoers are being invited to celebrate Saudi culture by dressing in outfits inspired by traditional Saudi heritage costumes.

“This year’s dress code embodies the Kingdom’s unique identity, allowing racegoers to express individuality while celebrating our collective heritage,” said a Fashion Commission spokesperson. “It’s clear to see the myriad influences the Kingdom’s rich history has had on the strong identity we celebrate today. Saudi Arabia is home to some of the region’s most preeminent fashion designers and events like the Saudi Cup provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate this wealth of talent.”

The day of racing begins with guests sampling traditional Saudi cuisine in the company of some of the Cup’s participating jockeys at a ‘Breakfast with the Jockeys’. Organized by the Culinary Arts Commission, the breakfast will cater to all tastes, offering dishes made using locally sourced ingredients creating an authentic Saudi culinary experience. 

Guests will listen to a musical soundtrack performed by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished musicians, alongside performers from the UK and Egypt. The soundtrack was recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London and at studios in Cairo and Jeddah. The Music Commission has organized a special musical interlude written especially for the event by celebrated Saudi composer Mamdouh Saif. The piece is inspired by the different stages of a horse race and will be played at the beginning of each race as the horses are loaded into the stalls.

With the years 2020 and 2021 designated as the ‘Year of Arabic Calligraphy’, guests will also be able to view this ancient art form across both venues of the Saudi Cup. At the Arabic Calligraphy Corner, racegoers will be invited to try their hand at creating ornate designs, while the winners of the eight races will be presented with winners’ rugs, adorned with Arabic calligraphy.

To see more information about the varied cultural activities happening at the Saudi Cup visit:

Dress code

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