Racing of 55th Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Cup is highlight of weekend’s contests

Racing of 55th Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Cup is highlight of weekend’s contests
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques cups from last season
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Updated 24 January 2023

Racing of 55th Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Cup is highlight of weekend’s contests

Racing of 55th Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Cup is highlight of weekend’s contests
  • Main races feature 20 rounds with prize money exceeding $1.96m
  • King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Janadriyah hosting Saudi Cup qualifying rounds

RIYADH: The 55th Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Cup is set to take place this weekend at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Janadriyah, with total prize money of over $1.86 million (SAR7 million) up for grabs.

The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia launched the first Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Cup in 1967 after opening the club’s headquarters in Al-Malaz, and continues to organize races under the reign of King Salman.

This year’s event is of particular importance as it grants the winner direct qualification for the most valuable race in the world, the Saudi Cup, which takes place at the end of February.

With 20 races in total, it will also allow horses from the GCC to participate in the most prestigious tournaments with the aim of encouraging regional involvement.

The qualifying races for the Saudi Cup will be held on Friday, including for the 1351 Turf Sprint, NEOM Cup, Manifa Cup, Riyadh Sprint Cup and the Saudi Derby.

The races continue on Saturday with the Diriyah Cup, with the winner qualifying for one of the races that is part of the Saudi Cup.


Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final

Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final
Updated 30 January 2023

Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final

Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final
  • Although Al-Feiha had defeated defending league champions Al-Hilal 1-0 on Thursday, they were the underdogs against Al-Ittihad

Two goals from Abderrazak Hamdallah gave Al-Ittihad a 2-0 win over Al-Feiha on Sunday in the Saudi Super Cup Final in Riyadh to hand the Jeddah giants their first major piece of silverware in five years.

The victory also gave former Tottenham Hotspur and FC Porto boss Nuno Santo his first trophy in Saudi Arabia.

Although Al-Feiha had defeated defending league champions Al-Hilal 1-0 on Thursday, they were the underdogs against Al-Ittihad.

The victory handed the Jeddah giants their first major piece of silverware in five years. (SPA)

And Hamdallah, who featured for Morocco in the World Cup, struck early in each half to give the Tigers a big win against their 10-man opponents.

The first goal came in the third minute. Al-Ittihad’s Romarinho picked up the ball just outside the Al-Feiha half and the Brazilian’s pass fed Hamdallah who took one touch on the edge of the area and then coolly lifted the ball over Vladimir Stojkovic.

It was a great start for the Jeddah giants and it got better for them midway through the first half as Al-Feiha were reduced to 10 men. Abdulrahman Al-Safari went in high with his studs on Egyptian midfielder Tarek Hamed and was shown a straight red card from the referee.

Five minutes before the break it looked as if the in-form Romarinho had extended his side’s lead but the Brazilian, who finished smartly from close range, was adjudged by the referee’s assistant — and also VAR — to have been offside.

Al-Ittihad had a chance to tighten their grip on the trophy just before the break as Stojkovic was penalized for bringing down Hamdallah inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Abdulrahman Al-Oboud dragged his shot wide.

An Al-Feiha player comforts a forlorn colleague after the Al Majma'ah-based club's loss to Al-Ittihad. (SPA)

The frustration for watching fans in Jeddah did not last long as Hamdallah doubled Al-Ittihad’s lead three minutes after the restart, much to the dismay of Stojkovic. The Serbian goalkeeper came a long way off his line in an attempt to punch away a free-kick from deep, and Hamdallah’s head got there first to send the ball looping into the net.

Al-ittihad were on top for much of the second half and worked hard to ensure that they stayed in front.

Boss Santo said: “It was a good performance from us and we worked hard. It was a tough game and we are delighted that we ended up winning.”

Santo, who arrived last summer after spells with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Spurs, looked delighted as his players collected the trophy.

There is still the challenge of becoming champions of Saudi Arabia for the first time since 2009, but Santos is pleased with the progress his side have made so far.

He said: “We know that there is still a long way to go this season.

“The most important thing is that we stay together and work hard. If we can do that then who knows what can happen?

“It is great to lift this trophy but we hope that this is just the beginning.”


Females ‘just getting started’ in esports, says Saudi federation official

(Supplied/Saudi Esports Federation)
(Supplied/Saudi Esports Federation)
Updated 30 January 2023

Females ‘just getting started’ in esports, says Saudi federation official

(Supplied/Saudi Esports Federation)
  • The esports scene has traditionally been dominated by men, and it remains as such, but has seen a substantial shift in attitude and mindset for the better in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Female participation in esports is only set to increase in the coming years, Reaam Alkhudairi, from the Saudi Esports Federation has said.

In the Kingdom alone, approximately six million people played games in 2020, with nearly half of the new players in Saudi Arabia being women.

The esports scene has traditionally been dominated by men, and it remains as such, but has seen a substantial shift in attitude and mindset for the better in Saudi Arabia, Alkhudairi said, adding that more changes will take place as Vision 2030 continues.

Saudi Arabia's gaming sector is thriving, and especially its esports scene, and experiencing more opportunities for women as well, she said.

Esports are an exciting and challenging endeavor, and Saudi Esports Federation is dedicated to encouraging and supporting youths and adults alike to take part, Alkhudairi said.

The Saudi Esports Federation is also seeking to improve the skills of females in esports as part of its mission, she added, citing the example of Najd Fahd, who is now recognized as the first Saudi Arabian female to win first place in FIFA 20 and who was also awarded Best Female Player of 2021 by the Saudi Esports Federation Awards (SEF Awards).


Diriyah Season to host first BMX Freestyle World Cup in region

Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Updated 29 January 2023

Diriyah Season to host first BMX Freestyle World Cup in region

Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

DIRIYAH: Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, on February 10 to 18 at the Elite Sports Center.

Hosted as part of the Diriyah Season, it will be the first time the event will held in the Middle East. 

More than 175 cyclists and bikers, representing 32 countries around the world, will compete for the title on a circuit especially made to host the championship at an arena capable of hosting up to 10,000 fans.

“Historic Diriyah will turn into the capital of urban sports in the world by hosting the World Cup, with the participation of a group of the most famous male and female athletes in the world, who will compete to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics,” Mai Al-Hellabi of Diriyah Season said.

Al-Hilabi indicated that the events accompanying the tournament will include a number of entertainment and sports activities and experiences that will be presented to the public for citizens and visitors from outside the Kingdom of all ages and groups.

Tickets can be booked here.

 


Scotland Yard claims The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup to qualify for The Saudi Cup

Scotland Yard claims The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup to qualify for The Saudi Cup
Updated 29 January 2023

Scotland Yard claims The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup to qualify for The Saudi Cup

Scotland Yard claims The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup to qualify for The Saudi Cup
  • Mohamed Alshurimaa wins The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cups for Apprentice Jockeys
  • Dananeer Al-Khalediah claimed the first prize of the Gulf Cup Arabian Horses race on Friday

The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques Cup, organized by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, concluded late on Saturday at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Janadriyah with Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, governor of Riyadh, in attendance to crown the winners.

Saturday’s festival featured 11 rounds, including four main races starting with The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cups for Apprentice Jockeys, with prize money of $32,000, and Al-Dareyah Cup with prize money of $40,000 up for grabs, and the winner qualifying for the Obeya Cup, one of The Saudi Cup 2023 races.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup is held in two rounds, over a distance of 2,000 meters, the first classified as a local grade one race with a prize $400,000, and dedicated to local horse production. The second round is the internationally-ranked Saudi Cup 2023 Qualifier.

Scotland Yard reaches Saudi Cup 2023

Two weeks after winning the King Faisal Cup at the Kings Cups Festival, Scotland Yard, son of Quality Road, won The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup in an open round, securing its owner, Prince Saud bin Salman, the qualification card for the Saudi Cup 2023 which will take place at the end of February.

Scotland Yard, trained by Ahmed Abdelwahed and ridden by Victor Gutierrez, stormed to a 10-length victory in a record time of 2 minutes 4 seconds, while Electability came second with rider Camilo Ospina, and La Casa Tarifa third ridden by Abdallah Alrashed.

Prince Saud became the first Saudi to enter two local horses in the Saudi Cup race, also running Emblem Road.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup for local production

Mostawly, son of First Defence, owned by Haif Mohammad Alqhtani Sons, won the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup for local production 2023 with jockey Mohamed Aldaham, while Bint Farhh finished second and Horse Aljamaanee third.

Mostawly’s win gave the stable its biggest win in 25 years.

“Nose distance” sends Hamdani Khaled Al-Khalediah to Obeya Cup

The Arabian horse champion, Hamdani Khaled Al-Khalediah, son of Laith Al-Khalediah, won Al-Dareyah Cup on Saturday to join the entry list of the Obeya Cup under the helm of rider Fahd Alfouraidi.

Hamdani defeated Dergham by a nose, with Thayer Hamilan coming in third.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cups for Apprentice Jockeys

Rider Mohamed Alshurimaa won The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cups for Apprentice Jockeys with his filly Najaabat Al-Aez, daughter of Sleeping Indian, owned by Mahal Albugami.

The five-year-old, who won Prince Badr Cup in the Kings Cups last year, finished ahead of Wajaab in second and Koheylan Alkheil in third.

Meanwhile, Friday night saw the conclusion of the second renewal of Gulf Day at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Janadriyah.

There were also five qualifying rounds for the 2023 Saudi Cup, with prize money of $44,000, as well as four rounds dedicated to horses from the Gulf countries with prize money of $200,000 on offer.

Gulf Cup Arabian Horses round

Dananeer Al-Khalediah, daughter of Laith Al-Khalediah, owned by Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Sons, claimed the prize of the Gulf Cup Arabian Horses round with rider Adel Alfouraidi.

RB Rich Lyke Me placed second with jockey Alberto Sanna, and Mutwakel Alkhalediah came third.

Three-year-old Mister Victor earned his first victory in the Gulf Cup second round for Gulf Bred Horses after winning the 2,000 meter race in 2 minutes, 8.4 seconds with jockey Mohamed Oldham.

Mare Yazdad Heybah, ridden by Adel Alfouraidi, finished second while Jammah Almohamadia finished third with jockey Camilo Ospina.

Seven-year-old Sunset Flash, owned by Fihan Bin Faisal Almindeel Sons, won the third round of the Gulf Cup with rider Alexis Moreno after beating the champion mare Lagertha Rhyme, who placed second with rider Ricardo Ferreira. Avalina, ridden by Adel Alfouraidi, finished third.

Toledo, owned by Prince Sultan Bin Mishal, won Friday night’s final race, the Gulf Cup, with veteran Luis Morales.

Five horses have secured a spot in The Saudi Cup

Raaed, owned by Fahad Dhaidan Alotaibi and ridden by Ricardo Ferreira, won the Turf Sprint Qualifier 1351, while I Am Magic finished second, and Cold Front came third.

Castle, the son of Frankel and owned by Prince Saud bin Salman, won the 2,100 meter Neom Turf Cup qualifying race with rider Alexis Moreno. Luigi Vampa, with rider Abdullah Alawfi, finished second and Palavecino finished third with rider Luis Morales.

Arabian horse Asfan Al-Khalediah, owned by Al-Khalediah stable, won Al-Mneefah Qualifier (Turf) with rider Abdullah Alawfi to also secure a Saudi Cup qualifying spot.

Ataallah Al-Khalediah finished second and Jamran Al-Khalediah third. All three horses are sons of Laith Al-Khalediah.

Pagan, son of Sir Prancealot and ridden by promising rider Aseel Alsarhani, claimed the Riyadh Pace Cup, with Rock Sound finishing second and local horse Saodad third.

Mare My Map, son of Liam’s Map and owned by Prince Sultan bin Mishal, won the 1,600 meter Saudi Derby Qualifier race with rider Adel Alfouraidi, with Almulhem and Atta Alghali finishing respectively second and third.

In Friday’s other races, Aramah, the first winner of the day, secured its owner Abdullah Saud Al-Farag a Lexus car as it claimed the first round and the Saad Bin Mishref prize. Mare Mob’hem finished second, while Latin came third.

Meanwhile, Alamawee, son of Totally Ours for Haif Mohammad Alqhtani Sons, was the first Mishrif Bin Motlaq Bin Shanaan Cup winner with a brilliant performance in the 1,600 meter race under the lead of jockey Jose Rodriguese.

Alkharsany with rider Mohamed Al-Daham finished in third place as Saad Bin Mishref handed over the cup to Fahd bin Haif.


Victory for Pascal Werhlein and Porsche on day one of Diriyah E-Prix

Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix
Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix
Updated 28 January 2023

Victory for Pascal Werhlein and Porsche on day one of Diriyah E-Prix

Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix
  • Wehrlein looked the quickest on the track as he picked his way through the points-paying positions to the front of the pack

DIRIYAH: Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche team stormed from ninth to win the first of two races at the Diriyah E-Prix, with standings leader Jake Dennis of Avalanche Andretti Formula E following home in second after starting in 11th.

Wehrlein looked the quickest on the track as he picked his way through the points-paying positions to the front of the pack.

The move for the lead came on lap 30 at turn 16, with Sam Bird in the Jaguar TCS Racing car unable to hold back Wehrlein’s 99X Electric Gen3.

Both driver and car looked dominant for a second straight race. It was an emotional win for the 28-year-old, who once again credited his team with a monumental amount of work off-track to get things so right on it.

Jake Dennis in the Porsche-powered Avalanche Andretti took the fight all the way to the line with his factory Porsche counterpart from all the way back in 11th on the grid, but he couldn't find a way beyond Wehrlein — who sealed his second Formula E win on his 50th start.

 

 

The result was a reversal of the one-two we saw two weeks ago in the 2023 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix — and both TAG Heuer Porsche and Avalanche Andretti look to have thrown down the challenge to the rest of the field as the GEN3 development race continues at pace.

Sam Bird was overjoyed to make the podium for the first time since winning in New York City in Season 7 — calling it a "mini victory" for himself and Jaguar after a tough Season 8 for the Brit — the only season he has failed to claim Formula E silverware.

Sebastian Buemi started in pole position and finished in fourth, his best finish since the Season 6 finale in Berlin.

NEOM McLaren Formula E Team’s René Rast started fifth and ended fifth following a long battle in middle of the points-paying positions. He also sealed the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap.

Nick Cassidy made it two Envision Racing cars in the top six. Jean-Éric Vergne fought from 12th to the points for DS PENSKE, winding up just ahead of Jake Hughes in the sister McLaren. André Lotterer and Mitch Evans rounded out the top 10 - the latter slipping from sixth on the grid.

That leaves Dennis as standings leader at just a point over Werhlein — 44 to 43 points — while Avalanche Andretti retain their Teams' advantage over TAG Heuer Porsche, 58 to 49 points, with Envision Racing third.

Formula E’s return to Diriyah, a historical and cultural destination in Saudi Arabia, marks a groundbreaking move as it continues to prioritise sustainability and shift the paradigm in the sports industry.