This year’s Saudi Cup, the Kingdom’s flagship horse racing event, has drawn to a close after a jam-packed weekend full of cultural activations organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s rich culture and heritage.
The two-day Saudi Cup festival took place on 25th and 26th February at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack where participants competed for their share of the US$35.1m prize pot, including the two races sponsored by the Ministry of Culture – Al Mneefah Cup and the Jockey Club Local Handicap – each worth US$1m.
The headline race, the world’s richest with a purse of $20m, was won by Emblem Road who was presented with a specially commissioned winner’s rug designed by Hanan Al-Sharif and jointly commissioned by the Heritage and Fashion Commissions.
In recognition of the prominent role that the Arab horse has played in the Kingdom’s history, a broad range of exciting cultural events took place on the sidelines, creating an immersive and enriching experience for racegoers.
For the second year on the trot, the Fashion Commission brought back the popular dress code created in collaboration with fashion heritage expert Dr. Laila Albassam and celebrated Saudi illustrator Norah Sahman.
Guests embraced the theme of styles inspired by heritage costumes traditionally worn around the Kingdom, with some dressed and styled by designers from the Commission’s successful Saudi 100 Brands program.
The Fashion Exhibition, showcasing some of the Kingdom’s most impressive design talent, attracted swathes of visitors who were transported on a journey through time with unique stories exploring Saudi Arabia’s past, present and future told through design and textiles.
Burak Cakmak, Chief Executive of the Fashion Commission, said “The Saudi Cup offers racegoers from across the world an exciting glimpse into the wealth of cultural heritage that awaits in the Kingdom.
“Specifically, our carefully curated dress code celebrates the Kingdom’s unique identity and enables attendees to take part in this important expression of Saudi fashion heritage.”
As designated by the Ministry of Culture, the Year of Saudi Coffee was also celebrated at the event, with racegoers invited to sample five regional flavors in a dedicated Coffee Lounge.
Showcasing much of the culture and heritage that Saudi Arabia has to offer, the Ministry of Culture hosted more than 20 activations ranging from local culinary delights to an immersive virtual reality room.
A competition for designers and students was launched at last year’s Saudi Cup to design the cups and trophies that were awarded to the winners of the eight different races at the Saudi Cup 2022.
From more than 120 entrants, 24 winning designs were selected to be presented to the victorious jockeys, owners and trainers.
The Kingdom continues on its cultural transformation, as a central tenet of Vision 2030, and the Saudi Cup offered a glimpse into its successes thus far.