Project Description

The Saudi Cup 2020

Our Scope

The Saudi Cup is billed as the world’s richest horse race with a total combined value of £20,000,000. This prestigious event, held at Riyadh Equestrian Club, is attended by 12,000 people from around the world. Our team at Event Security Management Limited (ESM) played an integral role in the successful planning and delivery of the inaugural edition.

Having been contacted through our relationship with International Venue Management, we carried out a host of initial assessments, reviewing the current event operations, benchmarking against international equine standards and providing a full consultation where required. This covered a range of standards including accreditation, crowd management, health and safety, traffic flow, car parking and security. As a result of our comprehensive work, the client was impressed with our service and it led to further work in collaboration with the Equestrian Club.

The Saudi Cup Racecourse
The Saudi Cup
The Saudi Cup Grandstand

Our Actions

The second phase saw ESM select a team of eight, highly-experienced industry professionals with a proven record in the delivery of high profile horse racing events. Calling upon years of experience working in Saudi Arabia, we were tasked with the creation of relevant documentation and the procurement of local suppliers in compliance with customer requirements.

Furthermore, our business was also deployed to recruit, train and educate a qualified workforce ahead of the event.


Our brief covered eight senior-level roles across a range of disciplines from the Head of Safety and Security to the Medical Manager. It was critical that we sourced experienced, knowledgeable talent that could successfully deliver on their responsibilities. Through our proven record in planning and delivering security operations across the Middle-East for the likes of the Special Olympics World Games and the FIFA Club World Cup, we were able to quickly call upon an in-depth network of contacts to find the right people.

Policies and Procedures

We pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly and adapt to customer requirements in order to deliver a truly world-class service. Having commenced deployment in January 2020 ahead of the Saudi Cup’s launch the following month, our skills were quickly called into action. Our team had limited time to ensure the venue was fully compliant with International Health Standards ahead of the event build phase. Working in close partnership with the venue, contractors and Civil Defence Ministry, it was imperative that we delivered a service to international standards ahead of equine arrival onsite.

The stars of the Saudi Cup – the thoroughbred horses worth hundreds of thousands of pounds – had travelled from across the globe to compete. Strict quarantine measures were put in place, therefore in response we devised and implemented the necessary policies and procedures to deliver industry best practice. This was executed alongside a set of complex security and accreditation plans.

VIP Protection

With the news that the King of Saudi Arabia would be presenting the Saudi Cup to the winning owner and jockey, security levels were set extremely high. The ESM team worked closely with the Royal Guard to implement strict security protocols throughout the event to ensure the site remained uncompromised ahead of the King’s arrival and departure.

Important event information such as emergency procedures, site familiarisation, medical provisions and staff welfare areas were briefed in both Arabic and English

Our Legacy

ESM places great importance on attention to detail and through our comprehensive training program, we were able to ensure important event information such as emergency procedures, site familiarisation, medical provisions and staff welfare area’s were briefed in both Arabic and English. We always strive to pass on our knowledge to those who ask for it, particularly when partnering with local security providers who can then replicate our methods to great success with their own events.

Our Results

We’re proud to have played our part in the successful delivery of the first ever edition of the Saudi Cup. It was well publicised that there were reservations within the horse racing community as to whether Saudi Arabia would come through on their promise to deliver a racing weekend in-line with the title of “The Richest Horse Race in the World”. However, to the credit of the organisers, suppliers and everybody involved in the event, we did. For Event Security Management, the time invested in thorough planning and building a team of extremely experienced, professional operators saw us ensure the safe arrival and departure of up to 20,000 guests over a two-day period, as well as overseeing a detailed security arrangement for the King of Saudi Arabia.

No doubt, the reputation we’ve built as industry experts helped us to achieve this. Our senior management team, who possess a wealth of experience across military, police and event security management, have successfully delivered security operations at a host of major equine events. These include Royal Ascot, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Epsom Derby and the Grand National at Aintree. Given our in-country experience in the planning and delivery of security operations across major Saudi events including Jeddah Season, Diriyah Season and the Saudi games, we are always confident in our ability to provide our customers with a truly world-class service, whether it be for sports, live music or festival events.