THE Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia has announced that total prize money for the two-day Saudi Cup meeting next February will increase to $35.1 million, making it the most valuable fixture in the world.

The Saudi Cup, which will be run as a Group 1 for the first time, remains the world’s most valuable horse race at $20 million, while five thoroughbred races on the Saturday card have been awarded Group 3 status.

Prize money for both the Group 3 Neom Turf Cup and Group 3 1351 Turf Sprint has increased by $500,000 to $1.5 million.

Irishman Tom Ryan, the JCSA’s Director of Strategy and International Racing, said: “Despite the global challenges, the 2021 Saudi Cup was a huge success, attracting a truly international field. We had a brilliant winner in Mishriff who is the perfect example of the high-class horse the race can attract, and his victory showed how well-placed the race is in the calendar.

“Following his subsequent two Group 1 wins, he has proved to be one of the best horses in the world. We then had Saudi Cup fourth Knicks Go land the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga in August, while 11th placed Max Player was also successful at Saratoga last month in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

“Several other races from the meeting have also produced Group 1 winners. Earlier this month, Godolphin’s Space Blues, who won the 1351 Turf Sprint, landed the Prix de la Foret on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day and even though the UK-trained Oxted finished down the field in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint.

“It certainly did him no harm as he went on to win the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot just three starts later.

“One of the things we are most proud of at the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia is the versatility of the racing surface at King Abdulaziz Racetrack. The 2021 Saudi Cup proved conclusively that turf horses can perform on our dirt track and that their form on dirt translates back to turf.

“Mishriff had only run once on dirt before in last year’s Saudi Derby, while this year’s Saudi Derby winner, Pink Kamehameha, had previously only raced on turf in his native Japan. We hope this shows owners and trainers all over the world that they can come to Saudi and compete in both our dirt and turf races.”