Tuesday March 5th, 2024
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AlUla Readies for Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup

Featuring the highest prize money ever presented for an endurance event, this two-day race will test the stamina and pace of some of the world's most renowned riders

Hassan Tarek

AlUla Readies for Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) prepares to host the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup for the fifth time. Taking place in AlUla from February 10th to the 11th, the horse-riding competition will have the largest prize money ever offered for an endurance event.

Organised in partnership with the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF), the event serves as a prelude to the 2026 FEI World Endurance Championships. Riders will embark on gruelling 120km FEI 2* and 160km FEI 3* distance competitions over two days, emphasising the participants' stamina and strategic pace management.

“What began a few years ago as an ambitious project has become a mainstay in the international endurance circuit,” Mr. Ziad AlSuhaibani, Chief Sports Officer at RCU, tells SceneNowSaudi. “The event has been brilliantly received by audiences and the wider equestrian community alike - and the fact that more than 200 riders are competing across two competitions really illustrates its ever-increasing profile and popularity.”

The competition draws some of the world's greatest riders, horses, and trainers, reaffirming its status as the ultimate endurance horse event. Attendees, including regional royalty and VIPs, will witness an Arabian horse experience at the Middle East's premier endurance sports hub.

"In the rich tapestry of AlUla's history, the presence of horses has long been a testament to our enduring ancient heritage," Mr AlSuhaibani adds. “The ancient inscriptions of horses on AlUla's rocks exemplify this deep-rooted cultural tradition. By hosting premier equestrian events, AlUla not only celebrates this heritage sport but also underscores its dedication to fostering a legacy that connects with the equestrian world.”

AlUla's Equestrian Village, a new home for world-class events and facilities, plays a crucial role in RCU's broader equestrian strategy. The village is designed not only to develop and expand the sport locally but also to position AlUla as the ultimate destination for heritage sports.

"Our goal is to establish it as one of the most prestigious and lucrative competitions globally, attracting endurance riders from around the world annually,” Mr. Fouad Bin Fahad Ibrahim, Executive Director of SAEF, says. “We take pride in our esteemed partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla, which has played a pivotal role in orchestrating equestrian championships with exceptional organisation."

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup allows both men and women to compete on equal footing. Approximately 20% of the participants in the 2022 edition were women.

Beyond the competition itself, AlUla's Equine Training Programme, based in the AlFursan Equestrian Village, is contributing to the region's rich legacy in the field. Training initiatives empower local riders and professionals, fostering a connection with equestrianism as a future hobby or potential career.

The Cup also aligns with Saudi Vision 2030, playing a pivotal role in economic development, tourism, and job creation. It has inspired more Saudi nationals to engage in roles such as stewarding and veterinary support, contributing to the growth of the equestrian community.

As one of the marquee sport events in the AlUla Moments Calendar, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup stands alongside other heritage sport events and festivals. These events include the AlUla Camel Cup, AlUla Falcon Cup, Tent Pegging World Championship, Horseback Archery World Cup, AlUla Tour, AlUla Trail Race and Tough Mudder Infinity.

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