World’s Biggest Horse Races
Dubai World Cup
Run on the tapeta surface at Meydan over a mile and a quarter, the richest horse race in the world is a relative newcomer to the international racing circuit, making its debut in 1996. The race is the highlight of Dubai World Cup Night which is held at the end of March each year. With total prize money in excess of £6million it is always a fiercely competitive contest, attracting the top-class middle-distance horses from around the world. The USA has an excellent record in this race.
This famous 1m2f race for three-year-olds has been run every year since 1875 and, together with the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, it makes up the American triple-crown. Taking place at the beginning of May each year at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby, otherwise known as “The Run for The Roses”, is the most popular race in the USA in terms of attendance and an interesting day out if Hunter S Thompson is to be believed!
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Run at Longchamp over a mile and a half on the first Sunday in October, for many the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe the most prestigious horse race in Europe bar none. Open to horses aged three and upwards, it pits the best of the classic generation against the top-ranking older horses from around Europe. The French are a tough nut to crack on their own turf and have dominated the race over the years.
Breeders’ Cup Classic
This is both the most prestigious and the richest race of the American racing year, with total prize money of around $5 million. Since its inception in 1984 “The Classic” has taken place at various tracks in North America and is the highlight of the Breeders Cup meeting run in late October. Tiznow is the only horse to have won this tough 1m 2f race on more than one occasion (as of 2014).
Held at Flemington racecourse on the first Tuesday in November, the Melbourne Cup is far and away the biggest race in Australia. Host state Victoria has a public holiday in the race’s honour and attendance at the track is regularly over the 100,000 mark, with drinking starting early for many of those! Run over a distance of two miles, “the race that stops a nation” is the richest handicap race in the world. The prestige and prize money on offer regularly attracts runners from Europe, the USA and Japan.