Huge prize: new player on international scene with promise of $17m race
The Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority announced on Wednesday it planned to stage a new racing championship, which aims to place the country at the heart of the international battle to host the world's best horses.
No date has yet been given for the King Abdulaziz Horse Championship, which would take place at the dirt racetrack of the same name on the outskirts of the Saudi capital city Riyadh.
A press release from the authority promised the championship "will rival the Kentucky Derby in size and attract competitors from the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan".
With a reported purse of $17 million (£12.2m/€13.8m), Saudi Arabia would be the latest country to join in a spiralling contest to stage the world's richest race.
The longtime holder of that title, the Dubai World Cup, is worth $10m (£7.2m/€8.1m) and still offers the biggest purse for a race with traditional entry conditions.
The Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream eclipses that figure at $16m (£11.5m/€13m), though potential runners must buy a slot in that race, while the Everest in Sydney employs a similar model in assembling its field in pursuit of a total prize pool of A$10 (£5.6m/€6.4m).
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