2022 Saudi Cup set to welcome record number of Group 1 winners

Mubasher Al Khalediah wins the 2021 Obaiya Arabian Classic

2022 Saudi Cup set to welcome record number of Group 1 winners

Feature image: Mubasher Al Khalediah wins the 2021 Obaiya Arabian Classic ©The Saudi Cup

The 2022 Saudi Cup meeting has attracted over 700 entries from 22 different countries, including a remarkable 71 international Group 1 winners, all vying to pick up some of the $35.1 million prize money across the two-day meeting on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 February.

The 2022 Saudi Cup boasts five Group 3 races and the Group 2PA Obaiya Arabian Classic on Saudi Cup undercard, with the International Jockeys Challenge, Saudi International Handicap and a new addition for Arabians, the Al Mneefah Cup, a Listed PA contest on the Friday.

The Obaiya has attracted a really exciting set of internationals, who cannot rest on their laurels as the home challenge is strong too. The five-time Group1 PA winner Lady Princess is a real eye-catching entry, winner of Group 1PA races in France, the UK, and most recently Abu Dhabi. Also entered are the first and second in the 2021 Dubai Kahayla Classic, Deryan and AF Alwajel. Deryan could only finish fifth in the Obaiya last year, but he could easily improve on that placing this time.

French trained, Qatari owned five time Group 1PA winner, Lady Princess
French trained, Qatari owned five time Group 1PA winner, Lady Princess. ©Debbie Burt

Also in the mix are the last two winners, the locally trained Mubasher Al Khalediah and Tallaab Al Khalediah, as well as 2021 runner-up Mutawakel Al Khalediah. As to be expected for such a valuable prize fund of $2 million, high grade form is paramount with twelve individual Group 1PA winners, of 29 top level races hoping to secure an invitation.

Bucas

The Al Mneefah Cup, adds international interest for Arabians on turf, the new race is to be contested over 2100m with a prize fund of $1 million. This race has 131 entries, but with many connections choosing to enter both contests, it will be fascinating to see where some of the more decorated hopefuls end up.

©Debbie Burt
Deryan just heads AF Alwajel in the 2021 Dubai Kahayla Classic. ©Debbie Burt

Tom Ryan, Director of Strategy and International Racing at the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said:

We couldn’t be happier with the entries for the 2022 Saudi Cup meeting. Not only do we have a huge number, over 300 more than last year, but the quality is exceptional with 71 individual Group 1 winners, including last year’s Saudi Cup champion Mishriff.

We are also absolutely delighted to see that more countries have made entries, with 22 in total compared with 19 in 2021. That goes to show how quickly the Saudi Cup meeting has had an impact globally and become a key target for owners and trainers.

It was such a proud moment for everyone at the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia when The Saudi Cup was promoted to a Group 1, as well as the supporting races achieving Group 3 status and the Obaiya Classic being upgraded from a Listed contest to a Group 2. The support we have received from horsemen and women all over the world has been incredible and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Riyadh next month.”

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