Taif News

Saudi Racing Returns With New 2024 Taif Season

By Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia
Thursday, 4th July 2024, 10:00am

Image Caption: Group 3 Saudi Derby winner Commissioner King won last year’s Taif Cup

Credit: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia / Ali Al-Abdullah

351 races across 39 meetings from the GCC region’s highest altitude racecourse

4July 2024 – Racing in Saudi Arabia returns this week, with the summer season from Taif beginning on Thursday 4 July.

A total of 351 races will take place across 39 race meetings from King Khaled Racecourse, Taif, which has an altitude high enough to ensure cool temperatures suitable for racing during the summer months.

The programme for thoroughbreds, featuring 273 races, will be supported by a strong Purebred Arabian programme of 78 races.

September’s King Faisal Cup, a 1600m contest for Purebred Arabians, has been upgraded to international Group 3 status ahead of the new season, meaning it will be the only Group 3 for Purebred Arabians run on dirt in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

A further 33 Cup races will be contested in the 2024 season, beginning with the Taif Flower Festival Cup on July 19, while other highlights include the international Listed Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Cup for Purebred Arabians, worth SAR 1 million (approx. $267,000), run on Friday September 20, and the SAR 400,000 Taif Derby, which takes place on Saturday 24 August.

An increase in handicaps is a feature of the new season, helping to promote more competitive racing and provide winnable opportunities across the campaign, and there will be a total of 120 handicaps (up from 79) – 56 for local and imported horses (up from 35) and 64 for locally-bred horses only (up from 44) – contested.

As a result of the reconfigured fixture list, the new Taif season will feature a redistribution in prize money.

The Taif season will run for 13 weeks until Saturday 28 September.

His Royal Highness Prince Bandar bin Khalid bin Faisal, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Equestrian Authority, said: “The King Faisal Cup being upgraded to international Group 3 status is a great success and a sign of international recognition of the strength of racing in Saudi Arabia. The Cup was created only four years ago and promoted to Listed level two years ago, so to now be an international Group 3 is impressive.”

Speaking further on the developments of racing in Taif, His Highness said: “One of our strategic objectives is to improve the level of competition, so we’re very pleased to have significantly increased the number of handicap races.”


General admission is free (excluding King Faisal Cup and National Day race nights) providing trackside access to an evening of top-class racing including complimentary grandstand seating plus on many nights during the season live music, family entertainment, retail outlets, outstanding street-food and restaurant options. On major cup nights you can also win great prizes by guessing the winning horse for each race. Guests will be able to register to access a free ticket. Premier Enclosure is from 35 SAR providing all the benefits of General Admission plus access to the prestigious Nabd Al Nadi pavilion – which offers even closer proximity to the racing action – plus access to its Afternoon Tea lounge, mixology station and Hateeb, and its à la carte menu overseen by award-winning Executive Chef, Fadi Mneimneh.