Horse racing is one of the oldest sports, dating back to the ancient times of the Romans, Greeks, and Babylonians. Fewer chariots are involved in modern-day races, but that hasn’t lessened the excitement people feel when cheering their horse around the track. There are hundreds of racing events annually, from local meets to worldwide events with millions in prize money.
In the UK, the sport took off in the 18th century with wealthy landowners and even royalty investing in well-bred racehorses. Today, King Charles owns more than 60 racehorses, many of them multiple race winners, but the sport is no longer seen as an exclusively upper-class affair. Now anyone can buy a ticket to the races, and even more people can get involved by placing a bet on their favourite racer. Horse racing betting truly is part of the culture.
But where to start? Many people every year place a bet on the Grand National, but this is just one of the events in a global calendar filled with exciting festivals, world cups, and hundreds of beautiful horses. Here are some of the best races in the world to have a flutter on.
This American race is not far off its 150-year anniversary and has been entertaining folks since 1875. There are several races that happen throughout the day, including the most popular race, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred, also known as ‘the greatest two minutes in sports’. The prize pot of $3 million isn’t the largest in the sport, but the event’s fame draws the biggest names in racing regardless of the prize.
The fastest horse to run the Kentucky Derby was Secretariat in 1973 with a time of 1:59 2/5. The only other sub-2 minute time came from Monarchos in 2001, and every year that record goes unbroken only serves to heighten the excitement of the race.
Dubai World Cup
This three-month-long extravaganza is one of the Middle East’s most prestigious events and draws the top racehorses and their riders worldwide. The prize purse of $35 million is the second-largest in horse racing, surpassed only by the Pegasus World Cup, which makes for some very exciting racing.
The Dubai World Cup takes place from January to march each year, promising three months of fantastic racing for horse fans. Points from all the qualifying races are tallied up, and the top participants are put through to the final race at the Meydan racecourse, where the winner will be crowned. Not only can you place a bet on the final winner, but any of the qualifying races provide a lot of action for those following at home.
This is undoubtedly the biggest horse race in the UK, not just because of the events. The royal family are always in attendance, and many of their horses run in the races. Everyone who comes to watch must follow a very formal dress code, and there is even a royal parade at the start of each day. Almost 600,000 people attend each year, with Thursday traditionally having the biggest crowds.
Betting fans are only interested in the races, though, and there is plenty to keep them busy. Seven races each day, including the Gold Cup, Queen Anne Stakes, and the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, each with their own rules about which horses can enter and how long the races are. Some people bet on every race, while others stick to a category they know well.
If you’re a big horseracing fan, you’ll definitely recognize the race events on this list. Many have been running for over a hundred years and are steeped in history and prestige. The age of television and the internet has meant that more people can enjoy these exciting races without even having to leave the comfort of their homes. And now online sportsbooks like 888Sport mean you can place your bets from home too.
Whether you like to place several small wagers or go all with a large bet on the winner, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you choose to get involved in some of these events.
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