Founder’s Cup horse race to coincide with first Flag Day celebration

March 07, 2023
JCSA and Equestrian Authority Chairman Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Alfaisal
JCSA and Equestrian Authority Chairman Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Alfaisal

RIYADH — Local horses will compete in The Founder’s Cup this weekend, with The King Abdulaziz Cup on Saturday March 11 offering an SR5 million bounty for each round and a total prize of SR10 million.

Dubbed ‘The Crown of the Championships’, The Founder’s Cup is locally classified as Grade One and is to be held at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Janadriyah, just north of Riyadh, in conjunction with the first celebration of Saudi Arabia’s Flag Day.

Four-year-old Arabian horses are to participate in the first round, while the second is dedicated to three-year-old thoroughbreds. Both races are open grades and span 1,600 meters on a dirt track.

The King Abdulaziz Cup — named after the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — is known as one of the most valuable prizes of the Riyadh racing season.

Organized by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, The Founder’s Cup includes a total of 22 rounds over Friday and Saturday, the most prominent being the two main rounds of The King Abdulaziz Cup on Saturday evening.

Alongside the races, the JCSA will host a variety of cultural and entertainment activities, meaning an exciting day out for families as well as for horse-racing enthusiasts.

These include a folklore dance performance by the ‘Shabah Bisha’ ensemble and other events commemorating Flag Day.

A quarter century since launch of The Founder’s Cup

“This occasion honors the memory of King Abdulaziz, the knight closely associated with horses,” said Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Alfaisal, chairman of both the Equestrian Authority and the JCSA.

Prince Bandar pointed out that almost a quarter of a century has passed since the establishment of the Founder’s Cup in 1999, when the late King Abdullah, former JCSA chairman, launched a new equine championship in the name of KSA founder King Abdulaziz.

“This renewal of The Founder’s Cup coincides with the celebration of our Flag Day, as decided by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman,” Prince Bandar added. “The Jockey Club will play a prominent role in reviving this cherished national occasion linked to the history of our dear Kingdom and raising the national flag high on a joyful day.”

A showcase of local horse production quality

Prince Bandar described The Founder’s Cup as ‘The Crown of Championships’ and the most important event in the Riyadh racing season, as it reflects the quality of both Arabian and thoroughbred horse production in the Kingdom. The number of horses produced locally has reached no less than 3,000 per year.

“The renaissance of horse riding in general and specifically of horse racing in the Kingdom would not have been possible without the will of God and the unlimited support of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Salman — may God protect them,” he added.

Prince Bandar stated that this support has made a great and positive impact on the spread of horse racing in Saudi Arabia, while helping to meet the expectations of both participants and followers, and expressed his appreciation that this wise leadership is the main pillar of the levels reached by the sport and the development it has achieved.

Systems and races development

“The Founder’s Cup reflects the scale of development of local horse production, the strength of the races, and the quality of participating horses,” Equestrian Authority Secretary General Marwan Alolayan said. “As Prince Bandar has described it, The Founder’s Cup is indeed ‘The Crown of the Championships’.”

Alolayan announced that all departments of the JCSA are ready and primed for the big event.

“We are doing our best to introduce a successful championship as our goal in the Jockey Club is no longer just to hold the event but rather to nurture it so that we can repeat the success of last year,” he stated.

“Our goal is the development of everything related to the Equestrian Authority in addition to its racing activities. We also aim to highlight the global leadership we have achieved in previous races”

Meeting the expectations of horse lovers

JCSA CEO Ziad Almogren has confirmed the start of preparations for this year’s Founder’s Cup.

“In light of the tireless work of my colleagues at the Jockey Club, we are optimistic that the current renewal of The King Abdulaziz Cup will be honored on an annual basis, in a way that satisfies the aspirations of local and foreign horse lovers,” Almogren said.

Almogren drew attention to the improvement of all facilities at Janadriyah’s King Abdulaziz Racecourse to the highest standards, to meet the demand of fans for a world-class horse racing venue that contributes to the enjoyment of both races and accompanying events.

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