RIYADH: Racing fans will get a taste of the excitement they can expect from the world’s richest horse race, the Saudi Cup, when leading riders compete in the first-ever stc International Jockeys Challenge at King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in Riyadh on Friday.
Some of the world’s best male and female jockeys will compete over eight races in the Kingdom Day meet on the eve of the inaugural running of the $20 million Saudi Cup on Saturday.
Frankie Dettori, the 2019 Longines world’s best jockey, will be among riders from 10 countries taking part.
Dettori is among the favorites to win the opening leg of the challenge on Moshaghebah, a winner of her last race.
In the 1,400m event, Matmon will be ridden by three-time New Zealand champion Lisa Allpress.
“I was thrilled to be invited and am excited to be riding against world-class jockeys for world-class trainers,” Allpress said.
“Hopefully I can show what I can do, but in a challenge like this, a lot comes down to the luck of the draw.
“I can’t wait to get out on the track,” she added. “My first impressions were ‘wow.’ We don’t really have anything like this back at home, so I’m really excited to be a part of this.”
In the second leg, Mike Smith, the most successful jockey in Breeders’ Cup history, will ride Sun Hat, a three-time winner in England and a previous winner over 1,650m in Saudi Arabia.
Group 1 winning trainer Bader Rizaiq could make history with two runners, Aeisam and Nassohah, in the second leg of the challenge. Leading British jockey Nicola Currie will ride Aeisam, while Nassohah will be ridden by Canadian Emma-Jayne Wilson.
In the third leg, Dettori will ride five-time winner Sha Aem, while Adel Alfouraidi will ride Bajeer, a winner of his last start.
French jockey Mickaelle Michel has a strong chance of finishing the challenge on a high in leg four on recent winner Bint Alaqeelah, while Japanese star Yutaka Take has an outside chance on Yafooz.