The Three Richest Horse Races in the World

Discover three of the richest horse races in the world. Image of two horses being raced side by side.

In recent years, the Arabian Gulf has made an indelible mark upon the sporting world. It began with football. Manchester City were taken over by an Abu Dhabi-based consortium back in 2008, Paris Saint-Germain by Qatar Sports Investment just a few years later and finally Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund just two years ago. Golf has also been transformed with the introduction of LIV and its subsequent merger with the PGA, while both professional boxing and WWE have been hosting events there in recent years. 

Horse racing is no different. When it comes to the top three richest prize pots in the sport, two of them come from the Arabian Gulf. Neither Britain nor the USA are featured in the top ten, something that might be somewhat surprising when both countries provide races such as the Grand National and Kentucky Derby. 

UK Contingent

At a glance, there’s a historical connection between the UK and horse racing that goes back centuries, with iconic events like Royal Ascot, the Epsom Derby, and the St. Leger Stakes all enshrined in the sport’s lore. However, it may come as a surprise that none of these celebrated races rank in the top ten richest races worldwide in terms of prize money. This month’s upcoming Cheltenham Festival is still highly anticipated for its tradition and adrenaline, but not quite when it comes to the biggest financial rewards. 

There is plenty to be excited about throughout the four-day event though. It gets off with a bang on day one as the Champion Hurdle takes place, a race that websites providing online betting on horse racing have made Constitution Hill a shock 8/11 second favourite to win. The Nicky Henderson-trained horse romped to victory in the race last year and he has been a short-priced favourite to do the same ever since, however, in recent weeks he has come into a health issue that has seen his odds of victory lengthen substantially.  Should he manage to secure the victory, then he would bag £250,000 for his owner Michael Buckley. But that is still some way short of the top three richest races on the planet.

Saudi Cup

The Saudi Cup is a relative newcomer to the equine calendar, but it’s already made a resounding impact, becoming one of the world’s richest races within just a few years. Set in King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, the event boasts an unprecedented purse of $20m that has lured talent from across the globe. Winners like Maximum Security have catapulted the race to fame, and with Saudi Arabia’s growing influence in the sporting domain, the Saudi Cup is a testament to the state’s vision to be a premier host for international events.

Dubai World Cup

No list of opulent horse races is complete without a mention of the Dubai World Cup. Staged at the iconic Meydan Racecourse, beneath the shadow of the city’s towering skyline, the event has turned horse racing into a showcase of luxury and extravagance. The race has not only offered a staggering purse of $12m but also attracted some of the finest horses and riders from around the world. Its influence in transforming the Gulf region into a top-tier equestrian destination is unprecedented.

The Everest

Australia’s The Everest may not have the historical weight of European or British races, but what it lacks in years, it makes up for in dollars, and with a unique concept. Set at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, the event has an incredible tale of inception, where a slot-holder pays for the right to enter a horse, therefore playing a significant role in determining the field. This innovative approach, combined with a hefty purse of $10m, has firmly established The Everest as a prime fixture on the global racing calendar.

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