The most famous horse races in the world

Horse races always knew a huge popularity but you might think that it has decreased a bit in the last decades. Especially with the rise of online gambling you would expect live horse races to be a bit less popular but this is not entirely true.

The stakes are still high and the number of viewers and people who place a bet on the running horse is certainly not lying. After all, it’s still exciting to bet on your favorite horse and make a bet with which you can win a considerable amount of money.

Betting on horses

Numerous races are held but if you don’t know exactly where they are and how to bet on horses (also often possible online) then read through the following list. Herein, we have listed the most popular horse races so you know where you need to be and where it is exciting to take a look and pick your favorite for the final victory.
Jockey at horse race
Horse race jockey

Kentucky Derby

The first horse race in the list is the Kentucky Derby. This is the most popular race in the United States held every year on the first weekend in May. The race is also known by the nickname The Run for the Roses, because as the winner you get a huge amount of roses. Because the race only lasts about two minutes, it is also known as The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. The excitement is high but really only lasts for a short time, but that shouldn’t spoil the fun. This race has its origins in 1875 and was created as a counterpart to the Epsom Derby in the United Kingdom.

Dubai World Cup

A second race that stands out is the Dubai World Cup. This race is held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and screams glitz and glamour on all sides. Despite the fact that this race is one of the youngest in the entire equestrian circuit, it can win a huge amount of money. Dubai is of course a wealthy city in a wealthy country so the fact that so much money is involved is not surprising. The horse race first saw the light of day in 1996 and is held every year on the last weekend in March. Jockeys from all over the world compete (after all, you would for the prize money alone) but for the horses, only thoroughbreds are allowed to participate.

Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe

France also hosts a major horse race every year. This is known as the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. This race too is for thoroughbred horses only. The race is second in importance in Europe after the Epsom Race in the UK. Not unimportant to mention is that this race is in the top three best-paying horse races in the world. The race has been held since the 1920s, so it has a long history.

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Breeders’ Cup Classic

A by no means unknown race held in the United States is the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This horse race takes place over two days and is usually held in the US but can sometimes take place in Canada. This race is often considered the most prestigious held on the American continent. This race is also a part of the so-called Triple Crown.

Melbourne Cup

Horse racing is also practiced Down Under and the Melbourne Cup is no unknown event. Every year the horses race a course of 3.2 kilometers and the phenomenon is followed throughout the country as if it were a holiday. All other business is at a standstill while Australia enjoys the Cup. Fun fact: the Cup had never been won by a horse trained in the UK until Cross Counter managed to do so in 2018.


The Melbourne Cup is not the only horse race in the country that is very popular and well-known. There is also an annual race for thoroughbreds known as Everest. This race only saw the light of day for the first time in 2017 and there is a lot to be won. This attracts riders from all over the world, even if the race is just a little less prestigious than the Melbourne Cup. There is, however, a small catch for participants. To compete, you need to put down more than half a million euros (converted) and there are only twelve starting spots available.

Races in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is of course the pre-eminent country to go to when it comes to horse racing. The English are crazy about sports betting anyway and horse races are especially sought after. Most of the rules of the sport are determined there and the prizes to be won there take the crown in horse racing. In addition, the country is the place where thoroughbreds are bred and has a rich tradition in this area. We have also listed the most prestigious and famous horse races in the United Kingdom for you.

  • Epsom Derby

  • If you participate in this race as a jockey you can win a hefty prize. For both the winner and the nine riders after him or her there is a nice price to give away with six decimal places in mind. The race is also very popular with gamblers and more than £170 million is wagered on it each year. Many (English) VIPS know the race well when it is held. This horse race is without a doubt the most prominent race with huge winnings. The horse race has been run since 1780 and the horses participating in it are three-year-old thoroughbreds. The official name of the course is Investec Derby, but everyone knows the race simply as The Derby.

  • Cheltenham Festival

  • Also not exactly unknown is the Cheltenham Festival. This is one of the grandest horse races in the United Kingdom. The festival and the races are spread over the four-day festival. The first edition of the festival took place back in 1860. As many as 60,000 visitors per day attend the festival which is also sponsored by major online casinos. The whole spectacle takes place every year in March. Also part of the festival are the races for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle.

  • Cheltenham Gold Cup

  • The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a jumping competition that could win more than £600000 in 2020. The race was not always well paid as in its early years it could barely earn £700 (less than €800). Since the first race held in 1924 it has always been an important part of the Cheltenham Festival.

  • Champion Hurdle

  • Another part of the festival is formed by the Champion Hurdle. This hurdle race is known as the most important in the UK where a large prize can be won. The amount is partly determined by one of the largest sponsors. The first race was held in 1927 and many good riders have taken part in it since then.

  • Grand National

  • The last important race in the UK is the Grand National. This is one of the world’s biggest horse races that takes place every year at Aintree Racecourse in the UK. The first race was already organized in 1839 and there is quite a lot to win. There are forty riders competing in the steeplechase aiming for a spot among the first ten. The higher you finish the more you can win.