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Sports Then and Now




The Biggest Horse Racing Events Around the World

Posted on October 18, 2019 by David Hay

One of the original forms of gambling was heading down to the tracks and betting on the horses. Each year, hundreds of people travel to these highly anticipated events to witness some of the most exciting horse races. The history of horse racing in England goes back as far as the 17th century when Charles II established Newmarket as the headquarters of English horse racing; although the oldest racecourse is in Chester.

Horse racing betting and events around the world are still just as popular today, with the industry turning over £4.32 million in 2018. As time has gone on, these iconic horse racing events have become a staple in our calendars every year. Here are some of the most popular events from across the globe.

Royal Ascot

Queen Anne opened this iconic venue in 1711, and since then, a member from the Royal family has attended every year. Most famous for her colourful attendance is our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II – who has had a known interest in horses since childhood and is often found amongst betting markets, with regards to what color she will be wearing for the occasion.

Due to the nature of Royal Ascot, you can be sure to need your top hats and tails. There are certain expectations for attending the event, and one must wear their best when in the presence of the Queen. Over the five days of racing in June, Ascot is known to receive a whopping 300,000 visitors. Be sure to pull out all the stops on your outfit, you don’t want to be the thorn amongst the roses.

Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup has a shorter history than other horse racing events as it was only established in 1996, but it still offers an incredible experience. In recent years, Dubai has become a global icon for wealth, elaborative celebrations and luxurious lifestyles, and the Dubai World Cup lives up to that image.

Held in March each year, the event gains 60,000 spectators travelling from far and wide. The spectators aren’t the only ones making the journey, horses and owners come from various corners of the world to try and get their hands on the multi-million-dollar prize funds that are available.

Kentucky Derby

Part of the USA’s Triple Crown, in America, is the Kentucky Derby, which is held on the first Saturday in May each year. The event takes place at Churchill Downs, Kentucky and has done each year since its inauguration in 1875.

Known for ‘the fastest two minutes in sport’ the 10-furlong race is run by 20 Grade 1 three-year-old thoroughbreds, who qualify based on the graded stakes earnings during the year. Each year, the winner receives a garland of more than 400 red roses which has led to the event’s nickname – Run for the Roses.

The Grand National

Each year in April, the Grand National takes place. One of the largest and most popular horse racing events around the globe. 600 million people watch the event in some aspect, whilst another 150,000 attend in person. Since 1839, Aintree Racecourse has hosted the event every year; with the exception of World War I and II interruptions, which moved the event to Gatwick from 1916 to 1918, and cancelled it from 1941 to 1945.

People will bet on the Grand National in many ways, some by taking part in sweepstakes others by watching a particular horse for months, before placing a bet. It is said that over £300 million is wagered in a single year, making it one of the most popular horse racing events in the world.

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