Activities

A Day at the Races – The Saudi Equestrian Club

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Jou Pabalate

Regional Editorial Manager at Destination Riyadh

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The –ber months of the year marks the start of equestrian season in the city.


For those who love horses or who simply want to enjoy an Eliza Doolittle moment in Riyadh, why not schedule a weekend at the King Abdulaziz Race course?

Watch the races:

The King Abdulaziz Race Course is located at a majestic 9-square-kilometer estate in Janadriyah. It is a not so hidden gem at the fringes of Riyadh. The complex consists of the main racetrack, which can hold all internationally recognized race distances. There’s also a training track within the 2,000-parameter main racecourse.

Right in the middle of it is a large 50-squaremeter screen that televises the race information and live feed of the races as they take place. There are two ways to enjoy and watch the races. You can either stay on the grand stand with open bleachers that can accommodate over 3,500 spectators or have the Saudi version of an Ascot weekend and enjoy the amenities of the Club Building.

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Eat:

There’s a dedicated space for women home businesses at the public entrance. The Equestrian club supports these women in providing a venue to sell Najdi delicacies and meals. We recommend giving them a visit and getting a taste of original Saudi home cooking.

On the other hand, you can also enjoy international cuisines made with the freshest ingredients at the grandiose club restaurant. It overlooks the racecourse and also has flat screens broadcasting the races so you won’t miss a minute of the action.

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DR Pro Tip:

Through the VIP area and club building, you can be given access to the main grounds where the horses do their warm ups before the start of each race. The grounds are family friendly and provide a safe play area for children to roam around freely.

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The Equestrian Club

Equestrianism has always been an integral part of the Najdi, if not the Arabian culture. Horse racing in particular can be traced all the way back to the time of King Abdulaziz whose love for the sport was passed down through his sons.

It’s interesting to note that initially, races were conducted at the northeastern area of Riyadh. King Abdulaziz and his sons would sit atop a high hill looking over the racetrack. It is this very place that we now know as Malaz District, named after the forward movement of horses.

Determined to ensure that the sport is given ample attention and developed further, King Abdullah called for the gathering of horse owners, experts and government entities to create what is now known as the Equestrian Club in 1965.

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Today, the Equestrian Club in Riyadh manages all the horse races in the city as well as registering all local bred and imported horses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in line with the Saudi Stud Book (Wetherbyes). The club also facilitates and provides an avenue for sponsors who wish to contribute to races and race prizes. It supports horse trainers, jockeys and owners as an essential link within the equestrian community, both on the local and international level.

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