Saudi Cup 2021: a culture-driven horse racing show


The Saudi World Cup, the flagship racing event of the Kingdom, kicks off today with many exciting accompaniments that will make this year’s edition an exceptional cultural immersion. The estimated two-day event, with a total of eight races, sees distinguished guests from the global horse racing community come together to watch the world’s top equestrian talent. And as they sit by the track during the exciting races at King Abdulaziz Racecourse, located near Riyadh, the enduring relationship between horses, culture and art is celebrated.

Saudi Cup and Saudi Jockey Club

With a fund of over US $ 30 million, the largest horse racing purse in the world, this year’s event recognizes the important role horses have played throughout the history of the Kingdom. And the Ministry of Culture, with the support of its sectoral committees, organized an experience to celebrate this link.

“The Saudi Cup is one of the most anticipated and prestigious events on the Kingdom’s racing calendar,” a culture ministry spokesperson said. “We are delighted to showcase elements of the Kingdom’s cultural identity here at the Saudi Cup by showcasing some of our best talents in fashion, cuisine, music and art. “

He added that the ministry, which seeks to strengthen the presence of Saudi heritage and culture at events across the Kingdom, was inspired to blend the rich Saudi heritage with today’s talent and creativity.

The fashion
Race meetings are always a highlight of the fashion calendar. This year, the Ministry’s Fashion Commission therefore collaborated with fashion heritage expert Dr Laila Albassam and illustrator Norah Sahman to design a special dress code for the royal enclosure. Running enthusiasts are invited to celebrate Saudi culture by dressing in outfits inspired by traditional costumes from Saudi heritage.

“This year’s dress code embodies the Kingdom’s unique identity, allowing running fans to express their individuality while celebrating our collective heritage,” said a spokesperson for the committee. “It is clear to see the myriad influences that the Kingdom’s rich history has had on the strong identity we celebrate today.”

Fashion Commission, Ministry of Culture & Norah Sahman

With Saudi Arabia home to some of the region’s most notable fashion designers, events like this are perfect for celebrating and showcasing all of the fabulous talent.

The music
Plus, guests are treated to a musical soundtrack performed by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished musicians, alongside performers from the UK and Egypt. The soundtrack was recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios in London and at studios in Cairo and Jeddah. The Musical Commission organized a special musical interlude written especially for the event by renowned Saudi composer Mamdouh Saif. The play is inspired by the different stages of a horse race and is performed at the start of each race while the horses are loaded into the stalls.

With the years 2020 and 2021 designated as the “Year of Arabic Calligraphy,” guests can view this ancient art form at both Saudi Cup venues. At the Arabic Calligraphy Corner, racing enthusiasts are invited to have a go at creating ornate designs. In addition, all winners receive winner’s mats adorned with Arabic calligraphy.

To see more information on the various cultural activities taking place at the Saudi Cup, visit:

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