This is a guide for the inaugural Saudi Cup Festival. You will know:
- What is the race about.
- Tickets Info with runners and odds.
- Travel info to Riyadh.
Have a look:
This is a guide for the inaugural Saudi Cup Festival. You will know:
Have a look:
For the very first time, Riyadh is hosting a G1 race at the King Abdulaziz race track, the Saudi Cup. The inaugural run has some of the best runners in the world, as a result of the highest purse in all horse racing competitions, standing at a staggering $20 million ($10 million for the winner).
Most of the runners, such as McKinzie, competed in the Breeder’s Cup and will participate in the Dubai World Cup. There’s a total of 8 races, with the primary ones being the Saudi Cup, and the Turf Handicap. The cup is a dirt race on 1800m distance (9 furlongs) for thoroughbreds 4 years old and older.
Before you decide to make your trip, there some things you must know:
Depending on what you’re looking for, tickets sale for 2 different days including regular tickets and hospitality.
Kingdom Day tickets on February 28th open at midday as the first race begins at 3:20 PM and the last race at 7:00 PM. The gates for Saudi Cup Day on February 29th open at midday and the first race starts at 4:00 PM and the last race at 8:40 PM.
Kingdom Day Tickets: Prices for the grandstand are $25 and $40 for paddock enclosure, including the winners’ circle. Hospitality tickets range from $500 to $18,000 for the top luxury experience.
Saudi Cup Day Tickets: Prices begin from $50 for the grandstand to $60 for the paddock winners circle view. Hospitality tickets range from $650 to $850.
Some of the best runners will be participating in the Saudi Cup 2020 Dirt race. Maximum Security (9/4) has the highest odds for winning the $10 million purse for the inaugural race. The disqualification after winning the 2019 Kentucky Derby must be in the head owners Gary and Mary West.
Maximum Security did recover though winning the Cigar Mile G1 in July, but there are other runners worth a flutter. Mucho Gusto (6/1) recently won the Pegasus World Cup 2020 for trainer Bob Baffert is in great form, and McKinzie (11/4) finishing 2nd at the Breeder’s Cup 2019 (also trained by Bob Baffert) will look for one step further.
Last Update: 28th February.
Riyadh has been renovating to be a top-class tourist host city, and so it only fits they will do the same with the racecourse. The King Abdul Aziz racecourse (also referred to as the Equestrian Field) has all requirements for a brilliant day at the races.
The STRI group, who also set the mile at Ascot and the Wimbledon tennis matches, the turf and dirt are ready to host the best runners on the globe.
The grandstand of the Riyadh racecourse can seat 5000 people, and some cafes that serve affordable bites. Other sections of the Abdul Aziz racecourse include the trackside and the hospitality area (see the ticket info for more info).
There’s always a special feeling being at an inaugural race, especially when the runners and racecourse are top quality. Compared to other horse racing experiences, this one stands out for its uniqueness. Book your Saudi Cup experience now.
In recent years Saudi Arabia has been making an effort to accommodate tourists. Riyadh is one of the top examples for this effort. The modern city has dazzling new architecture while maintaining its historical sites.
At Al Olaya, new restaurants are ‘fuisioning’ food from Japan, India, France, Lebanon, and many more countries. With all this ‘new’ going around, there are 3 things you should do in Riyadh:
The modern building is a stand out architecture masterpiece in the Saudi capital, but it’s more than ‘just a building’. The 267-meter-tall skyscraper has a stunning luxury globe restaurant with some of the best cuisine in Riyadh. There’s also the best view of the city from the building and beautiful decor you can see during your visit.
As I mentioned before, Riyadh maintains well its historical sites, and Al Masmak is a great example. The sand fort in the middle of the old section of Riyadh was constructed in 1865 and marked history as the current rulers seized the place in 1902. You can see relieve the moment by witnessing images from the early 20th century and the galleries inside the fort.
Luckily the races are in February, which means the weather is around 26 degrees. While you’re visiting Riyadh, you should venture on desert tours. Some of the available tours offer camel trips, unique desert hikes while enjoying an authentic Bedouin experience.
For the best guides in Riyadh see Getyourguide
Depending on how much time you’re planning to stay in Riyadh, the best options to lodge are near the airport or at Al Olaya street. There are 4 accommodations that stand out from the rest, starting from Al Olaya:
For a 5-star hotel with the highest standards, the Hyatt offers a top price at the best location on Al Olaya. As one of the highest-rated hotels among visitors, you will get a mix of the famous Saudi Arabian hospitality with American comfort.
The Hyatt Riyadh boasts spa’s, a Morrocan Hammam, luxury suites, and many more. The hotel offers free cancellation and king size beds for your comfort.
Another quality hotel on Al Olaya and 600 meters from Faisaliah Centre, Braira Hotel is a superb bargain for the price. The luxury hotel has unique decor you won’t forget, with spacious rooms. The guests highly rate the clean rooms and the staff, but some say the breakfast is not the best. The hotel offers free cancellation and queen size beds.
If you’re on a budget, then look no further than Capital O 162 Brzeen Hotel. The 3-star hotel is located around 5 minutes drive from the main AL Olaya street, but the 20m room and king size bed add value to your money.
There’s free parking at the hotel for guests, and you can enjoy local Saudi meals. There some issues though with the breakfast, not being well rated. The hotel offers free cancellation and a king-size bed.
Your trip to Riyadh might be short, and you already know your only visit will be at to the King Abdul Aziz racecourse. Adjecate near the airport (as the hotel name implies), the Riyadh Airport Marriot is your best choice. The 5-star hotel offers a lovely business centre, airport shuttle, and a panoramic restaurant with buffet dining.
There’s no shortage of places to eat in Riyadh and the racecourse. As I mentioned earlier in the things to do, Riyadh has a bite for anyone, from local cuisine to Japanese, French, Vegan, and more.
King Abdulaziz racecourse is no different than other famous racecourses, with their restaurants. If you have decided on a hospitality ticket, you’ll enjoy a full course menu, from starter to dessert. Some of the dishes include: lobster cocktail or wagyu beef, scallops tartare, cheesecake mouse, and more.
Inside the King’s racecourse, there are some snacks and cafes if you purchased a regular ticket.
From all the available options in Riyadh, there are 3 that caught my stomach:
When you’re travelling, you always look for unique moments that go into the memory book. The globe Al Faisaliah Tower is the perfect place to create memories. With an unforgettable view of Riyadh and a unique décor, the globe restaurant has a complete menu for any taste. Some of the dishes include tenderloin, glazed asparagus, Canadian lobster.
Have you ever tried Armenian food before? Even if you did, you should consider Lusin. The beautifully set restaurant in Al Olaya district boasts a full Armenian menu including an Armenian Borsch Soup and eggplant rolls. But if you truly want the best, then opt for the Lusin specialities.
When it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine, Lebanese might be the cream on the cake. Fairouz Garden has all the famous Lebanese dishes in their menu, such as Humus with nuts, traditional Lebanese Kebab, and Lebanese Kofta. The service of the restaurant is considered to be very attentive, and you can enjoy a terrace view outside while you’re dining.
Riyadh airport (RUH), also known as King Khalid Airport, is around a 20-minute drive to the racecourse. The only way to get to the racecourse from the airport is by taxi or Uber, as there won’t be any shuttles.
Before you start looking for buses or metros, you should know there aren’t any from the airport. Your best options here will be a taxi, Uber, or organize your transportation with your confirmed accommodation. From 2021 the new metro system is to be completed.
If you’re coming from another area in Saudi Arabia, you can consider the Riyadh Central Train Station. But you should know you’ll have to change trains along the way and in some cases ride another taxi as a connection. It would be best to board a flight to save you time and money.
Boarding a bus to Riyadh is the cheapest way to get Riyadh, but from inside Riyadh, it’s the most enduring and eventually expensive. The Riyadh Central Bus Station is at the other side of the city with a taxi ride of nearly 1 hour to the city center and the racecourse.
If you’re spending some days in Riyadh, a car rental is probably your best choice. Almost all the accommodations have their free parking, including the racecourse. You can drive along without the hassle of a taxi every time.