Riyadh: The $1 million Al-Mneefah Cup, one of two flagship Purebred Arabian races held at The Saudi Cup meeting, will be run as an international PA Group 1 for the first time in 2024, after being upgraded from PA Group 2 status by the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing.
The upgrade will mean that both the $2 million Obaiya Arabian Classic, held the same night as the Group 1 $20 million Saudi Cup, and the Al-Mneefah Cup, staged a day earlier, will be run as PA Group 1 contests next year.
As well as the Al-Mneefah Cup, the 2023/24 Saudi racing season, organized by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, will see a further six PA races upgraded to international Listed status, with the first of these, the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Cup, set to be held at Taif’s King Khalid Racecourse in early September alongside the King Faisal Cup for Purebred Arabians which also holds international Listed classification.
The Riyadh season, scheduled to begin at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in October, will see five PA contests upgraded to international Listed class for the first time.
The JCSA Cup and one new, yet to be named Listed race, will be run later this year, while in the new year, the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Sword, The Sprint Championship, and the King Abdulaziz Racecourse Championship will all be run as PA Listed events.
Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan, chairman of the JCSA’s technical committee, said: “We are very pleased that our Purebred Arabian race schedule has received such a big vote of confidence from the IFAHR.
“The development of Arabian racing has been and will continue to be a key goal in the strategic advancement of the JCSA. It is a code of the sport that holds a special place in Saudi Arabian culture, and to see it flourish in the Kingdom is very gratifying.
“The upwards trajectory of Purebred Arabian racing within the country is reflected in the strong representation of Saudi-owned, trained, and bred Arabians on the global stage, and we look forward to watching these six races play out on our racecourses,” he added.