Travel to See the Biggest Horse Racing Events


Travelling to the world’s most prestigious horse racing event is fun for both spectators and bettors alike, and this list runs down the biggest horse racing events in terms of the purses on offer. As one of the world’s oldest sports, horse racing has in fact changed almost not at all in the years since it was first invented, which makes it one of the only sports to remain as it initially was conceived.

The Grand National: £1 Million

The Grand National is one of the longest-running and most distinguished horse racing events in the world, and makes for a highlight on Britain’s sporting calendar. It was first run in 1839, and traverses 4 miles, or just over 7 kilometers, and is a handicap steeplechase race traditionally run at Aintree.

The Kentucky Derby: US$2 Million

Referred to as the Quickest Two Minutes in Sport, the American Kentucky Derby takes place once a year during the first week of May. It is a Grade 1 Stakes Race for three-year old thoroughbreds, and was first run in 1875. It takes place over 1 ½ miles, or just over 2 kilometres, as per the Epsom Derby on which it is based, and the horses compete over a dirt surface.

The Breeders’ Cup Sprint: US$2 Million

Run across dirt as well, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is one of the newer races. Held once a year at different courses around North America, and a favourite with punters who enjoy NZ betting and that offered around the rest of the world, the meeting is for Grade 1 thoroughbreds at least one-year old.

The Dubai Duty-Free Stakes: DH18.3 Million

Originally known as the Dubai Turf, this race is run at the Meydan Racecourse on the evening on which the Dubai World Cup takes place. It is run for 1 mile, or 1.8 kilometers, on a flat turf surface, and four-year old thoroughbreds are allowed to take part.

The Prix L’Arc de Triomphe: €4.9-million

This is a Grade 1 flat race for thoroughbreds aged three-years. The race can trace its history back to 1863, and it takes place at Longchamp on the first Sunday of October.

This is the most prestigious horse race in Europe, and is surrounded by much pomp and circumstance as race-goers dress in the perfect sophistication the French are so well known for.

The Melbourne Cup: AU$17.5 Million

This is the world’s richest turf race, and it was first run in 1861, extending over 2 miles, or 3.2 kilometers. The handicap race is open to three-year old thoroughbreds and is a highlight on Australia’s sporting calendar, with champion race horses like the now-famous Winx taking part.

The Dubai World Cup: DH 36.73 Million

The Dubai World Cup is the globe’s richest. It is run on the final Saturday in March once a year, and has been going since 1996. It moved to the Meydan Racecourse in Nad Al Sheba in 2010, and is a Group 1 flat race run on a dirt course over the distance of 2 kilometres.

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