A day at the races is like no other, with millions of people taking to the race stands around the world each year. Worth an estimated £3.45 billion annually in the UK alone, horse racing is also big business. Horse Betting has become huge and a big part of the sport, especially with people always looking at the best race selections today. For the prestige, as well as global betting and the size of the winner’s pot, we take a look at the most popular horse races across the globe.
The Kentucky Derby
Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Considered to be the greatest horse race in the world, the Kentucky Derby is an explosive spectacle as the 1.25-mile race takes just two minutes for the competitors to compete. First run in 1875, it’s the pinnacle of the US racing calendar and sees three-year-old thoroughbreds compete for a prize pool of $3m. Around 150,000 spectators pack the stand to see the winner crowned with a blanket of flowers, giving the race its name, ‘the run for the roses’.
The Dubai World Cup
Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
One of the newest major international races on the scene, Dubai has made a real impact since it first ran in 1996. And the whole event is full of undeniable glamour, with a grand prize of a staggering £9.8m, making it the world’s richest horse race. Open to three-year-old thoroughbreds and above, the Dubai World Cup attracts the best racing talent from over 20 countries around the globe.
The Epsom Derby
Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey, England
Run since 1780, the Epsom Derby is a true flat race classic that attracts around 130,000 spectators every year, looking to place a bet on the grand winner. And with British Royalty in attendance, they are in regal company. The distance is pretty short – around 1 mile – making it a fast and exciting race to watch. The prize pot – around £1.5m – also makes the Epsom Derby the biggest horse race in the UK when it comes to the winner rewards.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Longchamp Racecourse, Paris, France
Held in Paris, The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is widely considered one of Europe’s most important horse racing events, with a total prize purse of around $5.6m. Known as ‘the Arc’, the race has just marked its centenary and attracts the great and the good from across France and beyond. With a distance of 2,400m, the Arc is a fast turf race and in recent years has been dominated by Frankie Dettori, who has won it no less than six times.
The Grand National
Aintree, Liverpool, England
So much more than your average national hunt, the National is renowned for its challenging four-mile 514-yard jump course. Forty of the world’s best horses and jockeys compete over this grueling course for the grand prize of £561,000 and the prestige of being a Grand National winner. First run in 1839, the race has become one of the most famous steeplechases in the world, with an estimated global audience of in excess of half a billion.
The Melbourne Cup
Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia
Promoted as ‘the race that stops the nation’, the Australians hold the Melbourne Cup close to their heart and the 2-mile handicap is also one of the most popular races for audiences around the world. The Cup has been held in November each year since 1861 and is considered a true test of some of the world’s best racers and their jockeys. It is also one of the world’s richest turf races, with the winner scooping $4.4m for being first past the post.