This week run the most prestigious and expected horse event of the season, Royal Ascot. Suspended in 2020 due to lockdown, we celebrate the return of this lovely event with an article about the world's famous horse races.
Royal Ascot, UK
Of all the horse races in the world, the Royal Ascot horse race is probably the most famous.
Royal Ascot started in 1711 and has become one of the most valuable races where the world’s best horses compete for a top prize of over £5million. The British Royal Family has very strong ties with Ascot and Queen Elizabeth II attends every year.
For the first time in its history this year’s event will feature seven races a day. With 35 races in all, the 2021 Royal Ascot will be the biggest one ever.
The event attract over 300,000 people each year in the month of June and is renowned for its formal and strict dress code of a hat or headpieces and summer dress for ladies and a suit, shirt and tie for men which makes Royal Ascot a bit of a fashion event in its own right.
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, France
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is one of the most respected horse races in the world, and it anchors the biggest weekend of racing in France. More than 200 horses will compete in 16 races worth 9.4 million euros in prize money on the first Saturday and Sunday in October.
This prestigious sporting event was created in 1920 and each year thousands of spectators descend upon Paris to enjoy this spectacular race. The highlight of the weekend, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, is Europe’s richest race and attracts some of the World’s best horses to Paris. The new four-storey grandstand on Longchamp Racecourse opened in time for the 2018 event and offers incredible 360 degree panoramic views of the city of Paris; a fantastic vantage point to take in this historic event. It is ideally situated in the west of the city meaning guests can enjoy everything Paris has to offer, coupled with a weekend of high class racing.
Due to renovations at the Hippodrome de Longchamp the 2016 and 2017 edition of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe took place in Chantilly.
Dubai World Cup
Horseracing began in the Emirate of Dubai in October 1981, when the dusty Camel Track hosted the first Thoroughbred race meeting. Three races were run - a sprint, a mile and a mile and a half, organized by the office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The first Dubai World Cup was held in 1996.
The next Dubai World Cup in 2010 helped introduce the iconic Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse to the world, stretching some 1.6 km long. The architectural masterpiece is the new home for the Dubai World Cup and is the world's largest integrated racing facility, with a Grandstand seating capacity for more than 60,000 nestling alongside The Meydan Hotel which boasts 285 elegantly appointed rooms and suites.
The Meydan's enormous car park can cater for 8,600 vehicles.
Fittingly for a course that stages such a prestigious event, and cost a reported $1 billion to build, trackside dining at the Meydan can take place in a variety of spectacular settings.
With a prize purse of US$26.5m up was grabbing on March 2021, the 25th running of the Dubai World Cup, the world’s most spectacular race day featured some of the best known names in horseracing from all over the world.
Dubai World Cup is the highlight of the city’s sporting and social calendar and a fitting event to showcase an activity that has long been known as the ‘Sport of Kings’. As well as offering the ultimate horseracing experience, the Dubai World Cup provides guests with elite trackside glamour and sophistication.
Kentucky Derby, USA
Each year, on the first Saturday in May, people gather at Churchill Downs for what is commonly referred to as the “greatest two minutes in sports.” The Kentucky Derby has been held annually in Louisville, Kentucky continuously since 1875, and is very much a spectacle of the elite in both society and horse breeding.
To many Americans, the derby is a once-a-year opportunity to watch affluent celebrities drink mint juleps and wear fancy hats, while men wager large sums of cash on which horse has the speed and agility necessary to become a winner. Nevertheless, horse racing is more complex than an annual televised event.
The entire state of Kentucky has long been associated with the horse breeding and racing industry; Lexington, for example, is known as the “Horse Capital of the World.” Here, horse racing is both a way of life and a means of producing an income, with breeders doing what is required to create a thoroughbred that achieves physical perfection and is aesthetically beautiful.
The Japan Cup
Last Sunday of November at the Tokyo Racecourse running of The Japan Cup, the top-level event that was begun with the objective to raise the level of Japan’s racing through competition with some of the world’s best. The mile-and-a-half race began in 1981 and has been run every year since. An invitational event, the Japan Cup carries the country’s top prize money and has long been one of the most prestigious races in the world.
Tokyo Racecourse is located in Fuchu city and was built in 1933. The grass track is a circuit of a mile and a quarter while the dirt track is just over a mile. Major renovations were undertaken between 2000 and 2007 including upgrading the Fuji View Stand and adding The Memorial 60 grandstand.
The track has one of the most stunning backdrops in sport with a magnificent view of Mount Fuji to the southwest. It is only a 30-minute ride by express train to central Tokyo. As well as the Japan Cup, Tokyo also hosts several other Group 1 races including the Japanese Derby, Japanese Oaks and the Tenno Sho.
The Tokyo Racecourse is the largest in Japan and has a capacity of 223,000 with seating for 13,750. The record attendance of 196,517 was set in 1990 and the highest turnover for a single day exceeded 72.6 billion yen on Derby Day, 1994. The Nippon Derby alone attracted record turnover of almost 56.8 billion yen (around $ 520 M).
Dubai Racing Club
Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby
The Japan times