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Saudi Arabia unveils major new horseracing event

A lucrative new horseracing event featuring a prize fund of more than $17m (€13.8m) is set to launch in Saudi Arabia.

The Reuters news agency reported that the event would be called the King Abdulaziz Horse Championship. No dates for the inaugural edition of the race have been set.

The prize fund would make the event one of the richest in horseracing. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, which is held in the US state of Florida, will this year feature a record-breaking $16m purse and is said to be the current richest.

Reuters also noted that one of the Middle East’s premier horse-racing events, the Dubai World Cup, offered $10m for its top race, with the total prize fund for the meet reportedly standing at $30m.

Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA) said that the new event would feature competitors from the US, UK and Japan.

It marks Saudi Arabia’s latest move to further establish itself on the sporting scene. In recent months, the country has been awarded hosting rights for the World Boxing Super Series’ cruiserweight final, the Race of Champions motorsport event and the Drone Racing League World Championship.

In October, the GSA also signed strategic partnerships with LaLiga, which operates the top two divisions of Spanish football, and English Premier League club Manchester United. Saudi Arabia is eager to diversify its economy away from traditional sectors such as oil exportation and views sport as a means to achieve this.

The GSA said the King Abdulaziz Horse Championship will be a means for the kingdom to share its “historic and cultural legacy” with the world.