Saudi Cup Betting Tips, Stats & History

The title of World's richest race has changed hands on numerous occasions over the years, but the current honour goes to the Saudi Cup. This contest will be run for the first time in 2020 at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

With a prize fund of $20 million, the race is sure to attract a stellar field of runners. They will compete on the dirt track over 1 mile and 1 furlong for racing's richest prize.

Race Info

1m1f is the trip for this conditions event open to runners aged three and older and it is being run on a dirt track. Offering an incredible £15,037,594 in total prize money, this is the richest race in the world – bar none.

Going Distance Grade Prize Money Runners EW Terms
Dirt 1m1f Conditions £15,037.594 14 Runners 1/5 1-3

Saudi Cup Betting Tips

King Abdulaziz Racetrack, 17:40, Saturday 29th February 2020

2020 sees a new addition to the international racing scene with the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup. Taking place at Janadriyah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and held in between the two other international heavyweights of the Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup, the race is certainly announcing itself in spectacular style. Offering an astronomical $20 million in total prize money, this will be the richest horse race ever to have been held anywhere in the world.

If you lay a prize like that on, then it should come as no surprise that connections of the top equine talent from around the globe will be eager to take their chance in the line-up. That has certainly proven to be the case in 2020, with entries from the USA, England, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Japan all included amongst the final field of 14.

With this being the inaugural edition of the race we obviously don’t have any trends to go on here. Being run under such similar conditions to both the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup though, it seems reasonable to assume that it may take the same type of horse to prevail. As such the advantage may well lie with the US- and UAE-trained runners, with all four of the Pegasus World Cups to have been run to date, and each of the past eight renewals of the Dubai World Cup falling to either a US- or UAE-based handler.

Maximum Security (11/4)

It is in fact a pair of US-based runners who lead the way in the market this year, with the Jason Servis-trained four year old, Maximum Security, just shading favouritism at present. Three times a winner in Grade 1 dirt contests back home in the US, it’s not hard to see why the market has latched onto the claims of this tough pacesetter.

The son of New Year’s Day has in fact been first past the post in four top level contests, but lost the biggest of those wins in the steward’s room when being demoted to seventeenth in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. With three wins from four starts since that disappointment – including a most impressive win in the Cigar Mile last time out – it will take a good one to pass him in the straight.

McKinzie (3/1)

Next in the betting comes the Bob Baffert runner, McKinzie, who brings just about the best of the Breeders’ Cup form to the table having finished runner up to Vino Rosso in the 2019 Classic. A winner of seven of his 14 career starts – including four successes at the very highest level – he’s more tactically versatile than a number of these rivals, which may be to his advantage, and he was a shade unfortunate in that Breeders’ Cup Classic having been checked in his run at a crucial stage.

Going for a trainer who already has three wins in the Dubai World Cup and two in the Pegasus World Cup to his name, this son of Street Sense is entitled to the utmost respect.

Mucho Gusto (6/1)

Baffert has a mightily strong hand in this, as next in the list comes his impressive four year old, Mucho Gusto. A son of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Mucho Macho Man, this good looking chestnut looks to have inherited much of his father’s ability.

Zero from three in Grade 1 company headed into 2020 – including when no match for Maximum Security in the Haskell Invitational – he finally broke his duck at the top level when scoring by a resounding four and a half lengths in the Pegasus World Cup last time out. Another who likes to race on the front end, he will be a major threat to all if able to repeat that latest performance.

Benbatl (13/2)

Also prominent in the market is Newmarket’s very own, Benbatl. This Saeed bin Suroor-trained son of Dubawi has scored at Group 3 and Group 2 level on British soil, but has saved his best efforts for the international stage, with top level successes in Dubai, Germany and Australia.

Predominantly raced on turf, he was handed a dirt debut last time out at Meydan, and passed the test with flying colours to score by two lengths in that Grade 2 event. Drawn in stall three, he would appear to have the best chance of getting to the rail of the of the pacesetters, whilst the fact he was good enough to finish a staying on fifth in the 2017 Epsom Derby augurs well for his stamina in the straight. In a tight contest, we fancy he may be tough to at least keep out of the frame, and make him our each way bet in the race.

About the Saudi Cup: Money Talks in Middle East

Flag of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has, as a country, put a huge amount of money and effort to try and establish itself as a major sporting powerhouse. In recent years Saudi Arabia has played host to world title boxing matches, a European Tour golf event and the Spanish Super Cup. Despite facing accusations of “sportswashing”, the Saudi sporting authorities have decided to step up their game in the world of horse racing as well with the introduction of the Saudi Cup.

As with many of the global sporting events that take place in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Cup features a combination of glitz, world class competitors and a shed load of money. Hopes are high that this new venture will take off and that it will be spoken of in the same breath as other major flat races such as the Epsom Derby, the Melbourne Cup and the Kentucky Derby.

Part of Something Bigger

HRH Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal
Joi Ito, flickr

As you might imagine, the introduction of the Saudi Cup was accompanied by a major media drive. The chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, claimed, “the introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race, is without doubt the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia, and demonstrates … our ambition to become a leading player on horse racing’s world stage.”

Prince Bandar has been open that the race is part of a wider initiative to transform the way the country operates and how it is perceived around the world. To that end, female jockeys were told they would receive equal treatment to their male counterparts. This news was clearly welcomed as is any commitment to growing the sport of horse racing but there is no doubt that one thing dominated the build-up to the first Saudi Cup: the prize money.

Prize Money the Obvious Draw

The prize fund for the first Saudi Cup on 29 February 2020 was a staggering $20 million. To put that in context, that’s more than three times the prize money available for Europe’s richest race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Chart Showing the Prize Money Breakdown by Position in the 2020 Saudi Cup

The introduction of the Saudi Cup came at a time when a number of races had been vying for the coveted status of the world’s richest horse race. The Pegasus World Cup, the Dubai World Cup, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Melbourne Cup and the Everest have all held claims to be the richest horse race in the sport but the $20 million Saudi Cup blew them all out of the water.

Only the Best Need Apply

Riyadh City Skyline at Night

The Saudi Cup is the main feature race on a glittering card which takes place at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. The nine furlong, Group 1 contest proved to be an instant hit, with 143 horses entered. Whilst many of the biggest horses in European racing have been entered on the turf races on the card, the main dirt race has attracted an international field.

An ability to run well on dirt is obviously a prerequisite for punters looking to have a bet on the Saudi Cup. Those who have experience of racing in the Middle East and ideally in Saudi Arabia should have an advantage over international raiders but a combination of speed and stamina is most important as this one mile, one furlong contest is all about who can finish the strongest after a tough initial gallop.

Other Races of Note at King Abdulaziz

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