Horse racing is a sport which is celebrated around the world with major festivals taking place on every continent on the planet. It is a great opportunity to tie in some travelling with visiting some of these major events. Here are five of the biggest race days or meetings you should look to visit at least once in your life if you love horse racing.

Breeders’ Cup

Credit: Breeders’ Cup via

In North America, the Breeders’ Cup has been considered as the de facto world championship of the sport. The annual meeting takes place in either October or November at a track which has won the right to host the meeting. Most recently, Santa Anita in California has held four of the last five Breeders’ Cups. Later this year, Del Mar will play host , while in 2018, the cup will feature at Churchill Downs.


The Derby is the most prestigious race in the UK and it is one of the five Classics on the British calendar. Run at Epsom Downs in June, the race is the perfect test of a thoroughbred racehorse, as they have to tackle the stamina test of the 2400m trip for the first time as a three-year-old. The Queen is a regular in attendance for the Derby, which is always a fantastic day in Surrey – especially if the weather is kind to racegoers.

Dubai World Cup

Credit: FlemingtonRacecourse via Twitter

Dubai’s World Cup meeting is one of the newest festivals on the international horse racing calendar. It takes place at Meydan Racecourse, which only opened in 2010. The meeting has become a huge tourist attraction in Dubai, with some of the world’s biggest music stars including Kylie Minogue having played on World Cup night. With the feature taking place on dirt, it often attracts the best horses in North America – as it did earlier this year when Arrogate was successful in the race.

Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is billed as ‘the race which stops a nation’. It is the feature race at the Spring Carnival at Flemington Racecourse in Victoria. The meeting takes place on a public holiday in Australia in November. There are already a host of Aussie Melbourne cup 2017 free bets of up to $501 available on this year’s race, with the Robert Hicknott-trained Almandin the early favourite with the bookmakers at 14/1 for the 2017 3200m contest. If you are travelling to this carnival you can surely be guaranteed great weather and a fantastic atmosphere at the track.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Europe’s most prestigious race is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which takes place annually on the first Sunday in October. The best turf horses from Europe and Japan meet over 2400m in Paris. Longchamp Racecourse is the home of the Arc; however, the 2017 running of the race will take place at Chantilly, which is just over 20 miles north of Paris. Many British racegoers make the short trip across the Channel Tunnel every year for this meeting, which features numerous Group One races.

As ever, when you are planning a trip to a major race meeting, always look to book your travel and accommodation well in advance to keep the cost down and to guarantee your tickets.