Saudi Cup: Female jockeys ‚most welcome‘ at new $27m race meeting

We and our partners utilize technologies, such as cookies, and collect information that is browsing to personalise the information and advertising shown to you and to supply you with the very best experience.
Please let us know if you agree.
By Frank Keogh
BBC Sport
Female jockeys will be invited to participate in a brand new $27m horse racing meeting in Saudi Arabia.
Next year the Saudi Cup will be the planet’s richest race and can be scheduled to happen in the nation’s capital, Riyadh, on 29 February.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar said feminine jockeys would be“most welcome“ – that the country has faced criticism over its record on women’s rights.
He told BBC Sport the event was a part of efforts to“transform“ the country.
„Men and women will be treated alike,“ he said when asked about jockeys.
A event at London was attended by British racing figures, such as jockey Frankie Dettori and trainers such as John Gosden and Sir Michael Stoute.
It’s the most current in a string of sporting events set to be held in Saudi Arabia, with boxing world heavyweight title rematch between Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua advised to take place.
This has led to accusations of“sportswashing“ – the oil-rich country is using game to deflect criticism elsewhere.
Amnesty International has emphasized the country’s“abysmal“ human rights record.
Restrictions on women’s rights and freedom of expression have been increased, as has the use of the death penalty for offences not recognised as crimes under international law.
Prince Bandar, whose great uncle Prince Khalid Abdullah has owned leading racehorses like Frankel and Enable, implied the country was preparing to get a“broader“ era.
„We are moving through a transformation from the realm. We’re studying, but we are opening up and there is a political will to proceed there,“ he said.
Jamie Osborne, who trains in Lambourn in Berkshire and saddled Toast Of New York to win the UAE Derby five decades back, welcomed the invitation to jockeys.
„If we’ve got a runner, Nicola [Currie] will ride,“ he explained.
It is the major race, with prize money of $20m (#16.1m), in King Abdulaziz racetrack where five additional races may have added prize money totalling $6.8m.
The pot for the key nine-furlong race will be three times that of Europe competition.
Run on a one-turn dirt circuit, so it is going to have a maximum of 14 starters, using $10m visiting the winner and even the 10th-placed finisher earning $200,000.
Two of these races will take place with others on a brand new turf program, on exactly the same track.
Among these races on grass is a’remaining handicap‘ over under 2 miles and could bring in the type of runners that compete in Australia’s Melbourne Cup and also the Ebor Handicap at York.
Organisers expect a racecourse crowd of around 12,000 individuals for the opening season, with ticket buyers ensured visas for a country that has restricted visitors from overseas.
A team of racing experts has been established quickly.
A man credited with helping Naas racecourse in Ireland, tom Ryan, was recruited in January to become director.
The National handicapper who set the weights which horses would carry in the Aintree race, phil Smith, has been drafted in to get a function.
Harry Herbert, also a British racing amount, is ambassador.
Leading the job is a member of the royal family – Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Jockey Club.
„Our objective is for everybody who attends to appreciate their time, enjoy the race and return the year after,“ said the prince, who is a excellent grandson of King Abdulaziz, creator of the modern Saudi Arabia.
While economies have been fuelled by oil, there’s a demand for other income flows – that’s where tourism and amusement comes in.
Motorsport’s Race of Champions, an European Tour golf event and boxing match comprising Britain’s Amir Khan have been held in Saudi.
Horse racing, and sport more generally, has been down this path before – profiting financially from the interest of Dubai and Qatar, where questions also have been raised about equality and freedom of speech.
The political situation in the Middle East may have made for some interesting discussions.
But although Qatar and Saudi mightn’t be on speaking terms, it is understood that Prince Bandar has dealt with Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed within the project.
The Saudi Cup takes place a month before the Dubai World Cup, which for many years has been the planet’s richest race. Trainers may keep horses in the area.
The history tradition for men and women who don’t like history!
Evaluation and comment in our horse racing correspondent
All the meetings scheduled at the Uk
To get into horse riding, whether you want to use horses at the stables or turned into a fully fledged jockey.
Newest updates and video from the world of equestrian sports

Read more here:

Comments are closed.