Horse racing fans can look forward to a number of exciting events during the remain months of the year. These are the biggest races to mark in your diary:
The Everest, October 17
The world’s greatest sprinters will converge upon Randwick Racecourse in Sydney to vie for glory in The Everest on October 17. The race offers prize money of AU$14 million, making the richest race in Australia and the second richest race in the world. It was only inaugurated in 2017, but it has already shot to prominence due to the size of the prize purse. It is run over 1,200m, and winner Yes Yes Yes finished it in just 1:07.32 last year.
Champions Day, October 17
The champions of the UK flat racing season will be crowned at the final big meeting of the year. Prize money has been cut from £4.2 million last year to £2.5 million this time around as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it still promises to be an exciting and competitive event. It features four Group 1 races – the Champion Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes and British Champions Sprint Stakes – along with the Group 2 British Champions Long Distance Cup and the Balmoral Handicap. “British Champions Day has seen some superlative performances over the past decade and it is hugely important to us that we continue to make running a horse on the day as attractive as possible,” said chief executive Rod Street.
Cox Plate, October 24
The AU$5 million Cox Plate is the leading event of the year for middle distance runners in Australia and further afield. It takes place over 2,040m at Moonee Valley Racing Club, and it is run under weight-for-age conditions. The race shot to global prominence when the legendary Winx won it four times in a row between 2015 and 2018. She has now retired, paving the way for a new generation of star to flourish. Japanese raider Lys Gracieux won the race last year, and a wealth of international talent will line up on October 24.
Melbourne Cup, November 3
The Group 1 Melbourne Cup is the most prestigious race of the year in Australia. It takes place over an epic 3,200m at Flemington Racecourse, and offers prize money of AU$8 million. The heritage, the prestige and the competitive ballot process make it a monumental event, and it is known as the race that stops a nation. Victoria Racing Club claims that the Melbourne Cup has a global TV audience of 750 million each year, which would make it the world’s most popular race. You can learn more about this iconic Group 1 race at Punters, but it is definitely the most important event for racing fans to savour before the end of 2020.
Breeders’ Cup Classic, November 7
A cool $35 million will be up for grabs when Keeneland hosts the two-day Breeders’ Cup meeting this year. There are 14 races in total, including the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Turf, the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and many more eagerly anticipated Group 1 races, but the $7 million Breeders’ Cup Classic is the biggest of them all. It is run over 1 ¼ miles and features the best middle distance thoroughbreds from the United States and elsewhere. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is widely considered to be the premier thoroughbred horse race of the year, ahead of the $3 million Kentucky Derby. It welcomes all horses aged three years and older, and many of the runners that starred in the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes could make an appearance alongside their older counterparts. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the world’s fourth richest race, behind only the Saudi Cup, The Everest and the Dubai World Cup.
Japan Cup, November 29
The Japan Cup is an internationally renowned race that takes place over 2,400m at Tokyo Racecourse each year. It offers total prize money of JPY 648 million ($6.13 million), making it the world’s fifth richest race, just behind the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It is similar to the Melbourne Cup in that it follows a highly competitive ballot process, and the final field is always packed full of superstars. Homegrown thoroughbreds have dominated since Alkaased won in 2005, but some interesting raiders could compete this year.
King George VI Chase, December 26
The National Hunt season begins in earnest next month and there are 10 Grade 1 jumps races to look forward to before the end of the year. The most prominent of the bunch is the King George VI Chase, which takes place at Kempton on Boxing Day. It is the second most prestigious chase in the UK, surpassed only by the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and whoever prevails will be among the favourites to succeed at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2021. Clan des Obeaux has won it for the past two years, but all manner of iconic chasers will be in contention for glory in 2020.