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$20M Saudi Cup Attracts 143 Potential Entrants

With the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup scheduled to take place on February 29 2020

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Saudi Arabia is going to organize the world's richest horse-race event. (Representational Image). Pixabay

In August 2019 it was announced that a new race at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh had been created. But what made this particular race stand out amount its competitors was the staggering prize fund on offer. 

With the inaugural running of the Saudi Cup scheduled to take place on February 29 2020, $20 million is up for grabs. This will make it the richest race in the world, overshadowing the Pegasus World Cup Invitational which had a purse of $16m in 2018 and the Dubai World Cup which is worth $12m. 

Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia chairman Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal declared that the Saudi Cup is being designed to be long-lasting as well as lucrative. The prestigious race will also be limited to 14 invited runners. 

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This is a major coup for the Saudi’s who have been steadily trying to attract big sporting events to their country including boxer Anthony Joshua’s most recent heavy weight win against Andy Ruiz Jr. Wikimedia Commons

For those that do get the golden ticket to run in the Saudi Cup, the benefits keep coming. Not only is race entry free but the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia will pay for all shipping of horses as well as travel and accommodation for connections.  

This is a major coup for the Saudi’s who have been steadily trying to attract big sporting events to their country including boxer Anthony Joshua’s most recent heavy weight win against Andy Ruiz Jr. 

Given the money being pumped into the newly created Saudi Cup it will definitely attract a huge world wide audience. Maybe not as many as the 600 million viewers who tune in to watch the Grand National at Aintree every year but over time this new race will find its fans. And with $10 million going to the winner of the race, only the best thoroughbreds in the world will be running. 

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The prestigious race Saudi Cup will be limited to 14 invited runners. (Representational Image). Pixabay

So with the first ever Saudi Cup taking place in a matter of weeks, the race to get one of the 14 spots has already begun. A total of 143 horses have been put forward representing four continents, 16 countries and more than 60 trainers around the globe including huge industry names such as Saeed bin Suroor, Aidan O’Brien, Willie Mullins and Satish Seemar. The entrants include 32 Group or Grade 1 winners with plenty of American representation from the likes of Maximum Security, Midnight Bisou and McKinzie. 

Held four weeks after the Pegasus World Cup Invitational in Florida , it is also expected that the top three finishers in that race will also be issued invites even if they are not among the initial entrants. From there, entries will be whittled down to final fields, based on ratings allocated by former BHA senior handicapper, Phil Smith who spent most of his career being famous for handicapping the Grand National in England. 

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So who will race away with the $10M on February 29 2020? That is still unknown but as the entries get reduced over the next few weeks the picture will become a lot clearer. Will the Saudi Cup bring in the worldwide horse racing audience that it so desperately craves? Quite possibly, if only to witness history in the making as one horse wins the biggest race in the world. 

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Twitter Suspends Nearly 6000 Saudi State-Backed Accounts Engaged in Spammy Behaviour

Many of the accounts involved in the overall network employed third-party automated tools in order to amplify non-political content at high volumes

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Twitter
The latest move follows action by Twitter in September in which, the platform banned seven Saudi accounts, including that of a former royal adviser, for similar co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour. Pixabay

Twitter has banned 5,929 accounts which were part of a significant state-backed information operation on its platform originating in Saudi Arabia.

These accounts represented the core portion of a larger network of more than 88,000 accounts engaged in spammy behaviour across a wide range of topics.

Twitter said on Friday that it has permanently suspended all of these accounts from its platform.

“In order to protect the privacy of potentially compromised accounts repurposed to engage in platform manipulation, and in response to researcher feedback requesting that we pre-filter unrelated spam, we have not disclosed data for all 88,000 accounts,” Twitter said in a statement.

“Primarily, accounts were amplifying messages favourable to Saudi authorities, mainly through inauthentic engagement tactics such as aggressive liking, retweeting and replying,” the platform said in a blog post.

The latest move follows Twitter’s action in September in which, the platform banned seven Saudi accounts, including that of a former royal adviser, for similar co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour. The Saudi government was yet to make a statement on Twitter’s action.

While the majority of the content from this network was in Arabic, a portion of it related to events relevant to Western audiences, including amplification of discussion around sanctions in Iran and appearances by the Saudi government officials in Western media, said Twitter.

“Our investigations have traced the source of the coordinated activity to Smaat, a social media marketing and management company based in Saudi Arabia,’ it added.

Smaat appears to have created, purchased, and/or managed these accounts on behalf of a” but not necessarily with the knowledge of a” their clients.

Twitter
Twitter has banned 5,929 accounts which were part of a significant state-backed information operation on its platform originating in Saudi Arabia. Pixabay

Twitter said it has permanently suspended Smaat’s account, as well as the Twitter accounts of Smaat’s senior executives. “Smaat managed a range of Twitter accounts for high-profile individuals, as well as many government departments in Saudi Arabia”.

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Many of the accounts involved in the overall network employed third-party automated tools in order to amplify non-political content at high volumes. (IANS)