Horse racing is genuinely one of the most global sports around. Almost every major sporting country has at least one race that attracts enormous local attention. There’s a couple that we’re all familiar with, but a lot of races from some regions of the world tend to slip through the cracks.
Everybody knows the largest American horse races. The Triple Crown is, of course, one of the most closely followed series of runs in all of horse racing. It’s also a bit of a hog when it comes to the limelight. In the US, most fans and bettors tend to focus on the Triple Crown and the primary UK races. They’re missing out.
While both the US and the UK indeed host some of the largest and most well-known races, fans often forget to check out the other fantastic events for viewing and betting. These lesser-known races offer a rare opportunity to get some undervalued info on a horse. While other bettors are distracted by focusing on the American Triple Crown and the Epsom Derby, these tracks can give you an edge on betting odds.
Even if betting is a secondary concern to you, many races also play important roles in creating the status of legendary horses. It’s obviously gratifying to watch the moment a horse achieves legendary status. In my opinion, it’s even more incredible if you’ve tracked their rise through some of the lesser-discussed races.
I’ve profiled three races in this post that I think get short shrift compared to other races that get talked about more. While I’m sure the big racing fans out there will be aware of them, they don’t get the level of attention that the more significant races tend to attract. This post is for those of you out there who are looking to dig a little deeper and find more ways to enhance your horse race betting knowledge.
This is a Group 1 flat horse race. It is open to both colts and fillies. Three-year-old thoroughbreds compete in Kildare, Ireland, for a £1,500,000 purse. Sure, it’s not the most significant prize you’ll see for a horse race. If you’re primarily interested in the opulent wealth and pageantry of horse racing, this may not be the race for you. The next event on this list, the Dubai World Cup, may be more to your liking.
Still, the Irish Derby has played an integral role in the history of the sport. Inaugurated in 1866, it’s been a fixture of the horse racing year for over a hundred years. It’s played a crucial role in elevating the status of horses like Jack Hobbs, Dylan Thomas, and Hurricane Run. All three of these horses won the Irish Derby in recent years. The Irish Derby has a tendency to surface new sources of talent.
Last year, the winning horse, Capri, became the first horse since 1970 to win the G1 Irish Derby and the G1 English St Leger in the same season. Capri went on to have a disappointing showing in the Prix De l’Arc de Triomphe, but the Irish Derby was a still a historical, exciting race.
It’s a great reminder that the Triple Crown isn’t the only rare distinction for horses to chase.
While Capri had a disappointing finish, the Irish Derby can be a great race for feeling out potential big winners. If you’re a fan of betting, this race will yield some useful data on horses to keep an eye on. In fact, Capri will probably be competing in either the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic or the G2 Dubai Gold Cup.
You may not hear the Irish Derby discussed widely in every country, but it’s a huge, vital event for the sport. It’s an excellent race for getting a sense of young horses ahead of more significant races. That’s why I tend to favor it as a race for testing betting strategies and shaking out some horses to bet on in the future.
The Irish Derby will give you some terrific insight and an inside edge on your betting if you pay close attention.
Dubai World Cup
Taking place in 2018 on March 31st, the Dubai World Cup is the United Arab Emirates attempt at creating a Super Bowl-style event for the horse racing world. The level of spectacle and wealth on display is ridiculous and a glut of sensation. You won’t be bored by these races; I can guarantee that much.
If you’re looking for opulence, look no further than the Dubai World Cup. Every year has a massive pop star for a halftime show. In the past, this has included huge names like Kylie Minogue, Jennifer Lopez, and last year, Sia with Maddie Ziegler.
The entire day is a spectacle full of glitz and glamor. It befits the luxurious setting.
One of the first things you’ll hear about this race is the massive prize purse. This is the richest horse racing event anywhere. The nine races total to a massive $30 million card. There’s nowhere else on the horse racing calendar where this much money gets shelled out in a single day.
The Dubai World Cup has a variety of racing surfaces as well. It caters to wide range of horses and lets horses with different skillsets demonstrate their edge. A staggering 739 horses were nominated this year. While this number will naturally get whittled down a manageable number, it shows the global scope that this race is targeting.
Back in 2016, the race was claimed by the world-famous horse California Chrome. The most recent winner was Arrogate, a horse that didn’t fulfill all its potential but certainly provided some stellar, thrilling wins. The horse that wins the main event at the Dubai World Cup tends to be a name that fans will remember.
This year, there are two primary favorites: West Coast and Forever Unbridled. West Coast has the added advantage of having Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in his stable. The legendary trainer is known for producing horses that capture championships all around the world. Forever Unbridled has won her past three races, two of which were at the G1 level.
Both horses are huge favorites to win at the Dubai World Cup, and the odds will reflect that.
I’d peek through their recent races and pick one that you find the most likely to win. Their return may not be huge in proportion to your wager, but these two horses are looking like strategic picks to go home champions.
On the other side, if you think West Coast and Forever Unbridled are being overvalued, this will be a great chance to sniff out some value in the lower ranks. There are probably horses in the field that should not be overlooked. Talismanic is one horse that has attracted some praise recently from experts. In addition, there’s Heavy Metal. How can you not love a horse with a stylish name like that? Heavy Metal is a Meydan specialist and has shown great form so far this year. He’s an outside to the favorites, but he could provide some excellent value for a bet if his health and form stay intact.
While it’s third on my list, the Melbourne Cup is the most prominent race on this list. It’s been running since 1861 and is credited with being “the race that stops a nation.” True to its nickname, this race is a considerable event in Australia and attracts a massive amount of attention. In fact, it’s a public holiday for everyone in Melbourne and many in the surrounding region of Victoria.
Truly, this race lives up to its nickname. Imagine the Super Bowl taking place on a workday, and you have a good sense of the halt this race puts on Australia. Last year, the race pulled in a staggering attendance of 90,536, and this was hardly the race’s largest attendance in recent history. In 2003, 122,736 people set the record for attendance. It’s not quite as large as the Kentucky Derby, but it’s quite close. Indeed, it warrants more attention than it receives compared to the American race.
The vast $6,200,000 prize purse for this race helps up its profile.
In fact, it’s the wealthiest two-mile race in the world, and one of wealthiest races taking place on a turf surface. True, it doesn’t indeed hold a candle to the Dubai World Cup, but it’s still a total that ensures every team has ample incentive to win.
Like the Irish Derby, this is a race that tends to attract historical, story-filled finishes. Last year, Rekindling became the first three-year-old horse to win the Melbourne Cup. The Melbourne tends to attract exciting narratives. The race means so much to Australians that winning is like capturing a small portion of sports history for your own. This chance at immortality is palpable. Every jockey is stretching for a memorable run at this event, and you can tell it matters tremendously to them to perform well.
The result is a competitive race with a towering amount of history and excitement.
While everyone’s definition of “massive” might be a little bit different, I think you owe it to yourself to check out these three races. The fact that they’re often overlooked means you may find yourself with a betting advantage, as well. It’s easy to get caught up in the races everyone talks about consistently, but it doesn’t do you any favors for your strategy.
The best way to bet on and enjoy horse racing is to cast your interest wide. The more you watch, the sharper you’ll get with your wagers. These races are a thrill to bet on, and they’ll help you round out your expectations for the participating horses moving forward.
Don’t let the most talked about races steal the limelight! Enthusiasts and gamblers alike will be well served by checking out these three massive racing events.