Biggest International Horse Racing Events

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What are the Biggest Horse Racing Events Around the World?

From the Melbourne Cup to the Hong Kong Cup, the world has some brilliant horse races with huge purses and betting opportunities.

Horse racing has been an extremely popular sport in many countries for generations, with ample betting markets and excitement for every race.

Here, we introduce you to the biggest horse races and carnivals every year and provide an overview of some of the countries where horse racing takes centre stage on the sporting calendar!

What are the Biggest Horse Races & Carnivals?

While there are some brilliant individual horse races in many countries, the best festivals host numerous Group 1 races over several days. These festivals attract visitors worldwide and offer excellent value betting opportunities. Some of our favourite horse racing festivals include:

Cheltenham Festival, England

March 12 – 15, 2024

Sometimes called the “World Cup of National Hunt Racing,” the Cheltenham Festival boasts 14 Group 1 races every March. Hosted on St Patrick’s Day, it’s a particularly popular festival with Irish racing fans.

Dubai World Cup, UAE

March 30, 2024

The 8-race festival at the Dubai World Cup is a rich and prestigious tournament at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. The World Cup race alone has a purse of more than $12,000,000.

Royal Ascot, England

June 18-22, 2024

Dating back to 1768, the Royal Ascot Festival hosts events like the Gold Cup and the Platinum Jubilee Stakes. Attended by royalty, it is rightfully regarded as one of the world's most prestigious flat racing festivals.

Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Australia

September 7 to November 17, 2024

Aussies flock to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival for the biggest Group 1 races on the Australian racing calendar, including the famous Melbourne Cup and the Caulfield Cup.

Overview of Australia Racing

The Australian racing calendar evolves around the Melbourne Spring Carnival, during which the Melbourne Cup, the Caulfield Cup, and the WS Cox Plate are run. These are Australia's three biggest Group 1 horse races and attract the most interest.

Below is a list of the biggest horse races that take place each year in Australia:

The Melbourne Cup

  • Track – Flemington

  • Distance – 3,200m

  • Purse - $8,000,000

  • Type – Open HCP

The Caulfield Cup

  • Track – Caulfield

  • Distance – 2,400m

  • Purse – $5,000,000

  • Type – Open HCP

WS Cox Plate

  • Track – M. Valley

  • Distance – 2,040m

  • Purse - $5,000,000

  • Type – WFA

The Golden Slipper Stakes

  • Track – Rosehill

  • Distance – 1,200m

  • Purse - $3,500,000

  • Type – 2yo SW

The Queen Elizabeth Stakes

  • Track – Randwick

  • Distance – 2,000m

  • Purse - $4,000,000

  • Type – Weight-for-age

The Victoria Derby

  • Track – Flemington

  • Distance – 2,500m

  • Purse - $2,000,000

  • Type – 3yo SW

Doncaster Handicap

  • Track – Randwick

  • Distance – 1,600m

  • Purse - $3,000,000

  • Type – Open HCP

Overview of Hong Kong Racing

The famed Hong Kong Jockey Club is home to some of the richest horse races, with huge purses and big potential wins for horses that place well.

In fact, the Jockey Club turns over more than HK$75 billion every year, with races scheduled at the legendary Sha Tin and Happy Valley Tracks. There are a total of 14 Group 1 horse races each year in Hong Kong, with the following 5 races usually attracting the most bets:

Hong Kong Cup

  • Track – Sha Tin

  • Distance – 2,000m

  • Prize money - $3,000,000

  • Type – 3yo+

Hong Kong Mile

  • Track – Sha Tin

  • Distance – 1,600m

  • Prize money - $2,760,000

  • Type – 3yo+

Audemars Piguet QE II Cup

  • Track – Sha Tin

  • Distance – 2,000m

  • Prize money - $2,400,000

  • Type – 3yo+

Hong Kong Sprint

  • Track – Sha Tin

  • Distance – 1,200m

  • Prize money - $2,220,000

  • Type – 3yo+

BMW Hong Kong Derby

  • Track – Sha Tin

  • Distance – 2,000m

  • Prize money - $2,160,000

  • Type – 4yo

Overview of Japan Racing

Japan has hosted professional horse races since 1862, and the sport has become one of the most watched in the country, alongside baseball.

There are 26 Group 1 races in Japan every year, with more than $50,000,000 in prize money up for grabs. The richest race is the iconic Japan Cup held at the Tokyo racecourse, which regularly attracts more than 200,000 spectators. Below is a list of the most popular Group 1 horse races each year in Japan:

Japan Cup

  • Track – Tokyo

  • Distance – 2,400m

  • Prize money - $5,400,000

  • Type – 4yo+

Tokyo Yushun (Japan Derby)

  • Track – Tokyo

  • Distance – 2,400m

  • Prize money - $3,600,000

  • Type – 3yo+

Tenno Sho

  • Track – Kyoto

  • Distance – 3,200m

  • Prize money - $2,708,000

  • Type – 4yo+

Takarazuka Kinen

  • Track – Hanshin

  • Distance – 2,200m

  • Prize money - $2,708,000

  • Type – 3yo+

Kikuka Sho

  • Track – Kyoto

  • Distance – 3,000m

  • Prize money - $2,070,000

  • Type – 3yo+

Overview of UK Racing

With 30 Group 1 horse races on the UK racing calendar, there are huge prize purses and lots of betting interest. From March through September, you can bet on the biggest and best horse races in the UK, from the Cheltenham Festival to the Epson Derby. Below is an overview of the best races in the UK to bet on at

Cheltenham Gold Cup

  • Track – Cheltenham Racecourse

  • Distance – 5,294m

  • Prize money – £625,000

  • Type – 5yo+

The Grand National

  • Track – Aintree

  • Distance – 6,907m

  • Prize money - £1,000,000

  • Type – 7yo+

The Epsom Derby

  • Track – Epsom Downs

  • Distance – 2,419m

  • Prize money - £1,604,000

  • Type – 3yo

Ascot Gold Cup

  • Track – Ascot Racecourse

  • Distance – 4,014m

  • Prize money - £600,000

  • Type – 4yo+

King George VI Chase

  • Track – Kempton Park

  • Distance – 4,828m

  • Prize money - £250,000

  • Type – 4yo+

Live Streaming Horse Racing Events on Stake Sportsbook

Did you know you can live stream many horse races above from your account at Stake Sportsbook ?

Simply log in to your account and check which horse racing events you can live stream for free.

This is the best way to watch live horse racing without an expensive subscription, and it adds to the enjoyment of betting on live horse racing no matter where you are, at home or on the move.

How Do Betting Types Differ on Different Types of Horse Races?

You can place numerous types of bets on horse racing, including the following:

  • Win bets: This is a straight-up bet on the horse you think will win a race.

  • Place bets: If you don’t want to dial down on a winner, you can bet on a horse to “place,” meaning you can bet on them to finish first, second, or third in a particular race.

  • Each-way bets: This dual bet is very popular in horse racing. You’re betting on the horse to win but also on the horse to place.

  • Tricast: This is an adventurous bet in which you seek to predict which horses will finish first, second, and third in a race, respectively.

  • Forecast:

Check out our full guide to betting on horse racing and exotic bets guide and read through our sports betting guide for more helpful tips that will help you make your selections.

Please remember to bet on horse racing responsibly, and read our responsible gambling guidelines. You can refer to our Stake Smart guidelines to help you stay in control and utilise our budget calculator to determine how much you can afford to spend.