AlUla, Saudi Arabia – -: After weeks of increasing anticipation amongst sports fans and equestrian enthusiasts, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup finally returns to the limelight tomorrow.
Organised by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) in partnership with the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF), this year’s recording-extending fifth edition is destined to be the biggest, best, and most defining yet.
200 elite male and female riders from 50 countries will tackle one of the sport’s most physically challenging and visually spectacular courses – with regional royalties, VIPs, and international audiences in attendance live from AlUla’s AlFursan Equestrian Village.
Besides a 120km CEI 2* competition featuring a world-class field, the largest prize pot ever offered for an endurance event – SAR 15 million – is also on offer with five local riders competing.
Less than 24 hours out from the Middle East’s premier endurance event, the stage is set for an incredible occasion following the official press conference on Friday morning.
With local and international media in attendance, the 2024 Endurance Cup was hailed as a “cause for celebration” as attendees were promised immense competition, epic entertainment, and a championship atmosphere.
Ziad AlSuhaibani, Chief Sports Officer at RCU, said: “The return of this superb contest to AlUla is a cause for much celebration. The world’s best competing for the prestige of being crowned winner of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup – in the new winter home for world-class equestrian events – is very exciting. We can’t wait for the sporting spectacle that follows over the coming days. I’d like to wish the riders hailing from AlUla – as well as every athlete competing in the coming days – the very best of luck.”
Across the flagship event; the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup will take place on Saturday (Febrauary 10) – with another 160km CEI 3* rating competition taking place on Sunday (February 11). A prelude to the 2026 Endurance World Championships in AlUla, 67 riders are competing in 160km CEI 3* event – including one from AlUla – with a further SAR 5 million on offer.
AlSuhaibani added: “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup continues to rewrite history and we’re thrilled that this weekend will act as an enthralling prelude to the upcoming World Endurance Championship in 2026. This is a proud moment for our community and the overall growth of RCU’s equestrian ambitions as we develop AlUla into the number one winter destination for horseback sports.”
Nizar Fakhoury, Executive Director, Destination Development at RCU, also spoke of the event’s significance while previewing what awaits riders and spectators alike. Commenting on the weekend ahead, he said: “This extraordinary event is fundamental to our destination’s commitment to heritage sports, and the significance and celebration of endurance athletes and outdoor sports. We welcome this event back in AlUla and are proud to host it once again.
“What makes this event special is the incredible turnout of riders, but more importantly, the nationalities participating, with 50 countries represented from around the world. This is the first time in the Endurance’s history and a new record.
“We’ve collectively prepared to deliver an intense challenge on a brand-new track for riders, and an incredible experience for our spectators.”
Camille Martin, Acting Head of Equestrian Sector at RCU, reserved particular praise for FEI and SAEF, adding: “We are grateful and fortunate to have forged incredible relationships with the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF) and Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI). Their support and expertise have been pivotal to the Endurance Cup’s growing profile, popularity, and development over the years – leading us to this weekend. An enjoyable and exciting two days of equestrian excellence lie ahead. We’re proud to welcome more riders from all around the world, including more female riders, and we’re looking forward to witnessing the very best event possible.”
Dr. Anas Hasan, Technical Consultant, SAEF, said: “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup has become one of the biggest – if not the biggest – endurance competitions in the world, and this edition is the latest testament to its evolution. We received more than 700 applications from riders for 2024 – double the number from 2023. The world’s best riders want to participate in AlUla and they are here this weekend. We wish them the best of luck and hope everybody enjoys the competitions over the coming days.”
Besides world-class endurance action, sports fans, equestrian enthusiasts, and the whole family can enjoy movie screenings, pony rides, cultural kiosks, and roaming acts alongside exciting live performances throughout the weekend – including the ‘Harmony Cultural Fusion’ musical alongside performances by 10 Saudi percussionists and DJ Leen.
Additionally, visitors are in for a treat thanks to exclusive talks with riders, experts, and influencers. The captivating photography exhibition ‘Equine Mirage’ also invites guests to see an extraordinary collection of images from last year’s event – highlighting fleeting, defining endurance racing moments alongside the timeless beauty of AlUla’s breathtaking canvas.
Ready to witness the ultimate test of man and horse against time and terrain? For more information and to book tickets, kindly visit experiencealula.com.