Moore, Oliver, Saez Headline Saudi Jockeys' Competition

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Fourteen world-class jockeys from eight jurisdictions around the world will participate in the International Jockeys' Challenge to be held on the eve of the Saudi Cup meeting at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh Friday, Feb. 23. A team of seven male riders will compete against seven of their female counterparts in the four-race series.

Ryan Moore will feature in the Jockeys' Challenge for the first time in its brief history. The veteran reinsman, who was recognized as the Longines World's Best Jockey in Hong Kong last December, is one of five male participants based overseas, alongside the defending champion Luis Saez from the United States, Maxime Guyon from France and Japan's Ryusei Sakai.

Legendary Australian jockey Damien Oliver, the last of the overseas invitees, officially retired from the saddle Dec. 16, taking a Group 3 race named in his honour at Ascot in his hometown of Perth in Western Australia. But similar to his compatriot Glen Boss in 2022, Oliver–a three-time winner of the G1 Melbourne Cup–will pause his retirement to take part in the event, which is worth US$30,000 to the winner from a total pool of US$100,000. Oliver will look to add to the 3,168 winners he rode during an illustrious 34-year career in the saddle.

Eight-times Saudi champion Camilo Ospina and current titleholder Adel Alfouraidi round out the line-up for the males.

New Zealand's Lisa Allpress made history in 2020 when becoming the first female to win a race in Saudi Arabia, and the four-time leading rider returns to Riyadh for another crack. Australasia is also set to be represented by the Sydney-based Alysha Collett. America's Katie Davis makes her debut in the event and will be joined by South Africa's Rachel Venniker, Victoria Mota from Brazil, French jockey Maryline Eon and Great Britain's Saffie Osborne, the daughter of trainer Jamie Osborne, who was part of the female team that emerged victorious at last year's Shergar Cup at Ascot.

“The jockeys challenge on the Friday of Saudi Cup weekend is always one of the event highlights for me,” said HRH Prince Bandar Bin Khaled Alfaisal, Chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia. We are justifiably proud of the variety of racing showcased across the two days. To be in a position to offer a global stage to 14 of the world's best jockeys, seven men and seven women, is highly gratifying.

“We wish the best of luck to all the jockeys competing and hope that their feats on the racecourse serve to inspire new generations of riders both in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

 

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