The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF) and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) is set to welcome 200 of the world’s best endurance riders for the fourth edition of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup 2023.
The prestigious 120km endurance race is set to take place around the ancient desert city on March 4.
The route for the 2023 edition, one of the marquee sporting events on the AlUla calendar, will showcase the stunning landscapes, natural beauty and ancient history of the destination.
Endurance riders from over 40 countries have signed up to participate, highlighting the truly global nature of the event, said ths statement from RCU.
2022 race winner Federico Ferber of Uruguay will return to defend his crown, while compatriot Andres Rivero will hope to go one better after finishing runner-up last year.
Frenchwoman Margot Chazel, who finished third, will be leading a strong representation of female riders alongside compatriot Camille Coulomb in a field which has attracted the world’s best, it stated.
Phillip Jones, RCU Chief Tourism Officer, said: "It's one of the most established events on the AlUla calendar, and we believe AlUla provides the perfect setting for such a world-class field and prestigious event."
"Equestrian has a long and storied tradition in the region, and this event provides an integral connection from that heritage through to the modern day. The event also serves as an important pathway for development and participation for the local community," he added.
Four locally based riders will represent AlUla in the race, proudly wearing their official AlUla uniforms and bridles, while over 40 locals will be engaged in stewarding and vet assistance roles, after being shortlisted from a group of over 80 youths who had undergone a stringent training programme in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation ahead of the event.
Underscoring the event’s commitment to gender equality, 30% of the participants in the training programme were female.
"At AlUla we have the wonderful facilities, and the history, and events such as this combine to show that we are a hub of equestrian excellence," he noted.
"The event enables us to provide a pathway to participation both for local endurance riders and also for individuals from the area who are looking to pursue a career or become involved in equestrian support,” added Jones. “We look forward to welcoming a world-class field that includes some of the best endurance competitors from the region and around the world," he added.
The international competition CE12 will be held over the weekend of March 3-4 at a purpose-built desert arena set amongst the extraordinary landscapes of the Equestrian Village, in close proximity to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra.
Entertainment outside of the competition at the specially made arena will keep ticket buyers engaged throughout the day, said the statement from RCU.
The Equestrian Village will be closed to the general public on day one, with riders and horses undergoing stringent inspection and testing protocols. A range of tickets will be available on day two with a choice of Lounge (SR150) and VIP Lounge tickets (SR400), which are both inclusive of F&B.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup 2023 is one of the marquee sporting events that form the AlUla Moments calendar, including the Saudi Tour Cycling race (January 30 – February 3) and AlUla Trail Race (February 23-24).-TradeArabia News Service