Major Horse Race Meetings Around the World in 2021

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Horse racing is a sport with both global reach and appeal. From the Americas to Japan, the pursuit of thoroughbred competition continues.

Considering the fact that there are major meetings and events taking place around the world every year, we put together a neat summary of the best of the action for 2021.

Cheltenham Festival

The biggest jumps horse racing meeting held in the British Isles by far is the four-day Cheltenham Festival in the middle of March. This event has a number of championship races for the National Hunt code of the sport.

Everything at the Festival builds towards what they call “the blue riband” of steeplechasing. Past Cheltenham Gold Cup results include famous winners like Arkle, Desert Orchid, and Kauto Star.

In the Gold Cup this year, Al Boum Photo bids for a historic treble. There also hurdle races at Cheltenham in addition to steeplechases where fences are jumped and is a highly-anticipated spectacle every year.

Dubai World Cup Night

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At the end of March, the eyes of the horse racing world turn to the Middle East and Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates for an evening of very valuable races. Dubai World Cup Night is the culmination of the three-month Carnival that takes place at this track.

There is such international interest in the Flat races held at Meydan because the events are on both dirt and turf. This unique challenge attracts horses from America and Australia, as well as Europe and the Far East.

With races like the Sheema Classic, Dubai Gold Cup, and Dubai World Cup included on the card, over $25,000,000 in prize money is up for grabs and is the richest race meeting anywhere on Planet Earth.

Grand National

The world’s most famous steeplechase is held not at Cheltenham, but Aintree near the English port city of Liverpool in April. Run as a handicap based on official ratings, the Grand National is four-and-a-quarter miles in length with 30 fences for jumps horses to get across.

On their way around two circuits of Aintree, they must clear infamous obstacles like Becher’s Brook, The Canal Turn, and The Chair. Tiger Roll has won the last two editions of the Grand National, but a bid for a three-timer depends on how the Irish-trained veteran gets on at Cheltenham.

A massive maximum field of 40 horses are allowed to run in the race. There is always drama, but Aintree have taken many steps in recent years to ensure safety in the Grand National.

Breeders’ Cup

While many other major horse racing meets have a fixed home that hosts the action every year, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in the fall move to different venues across America. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California has the honour of staging it this year.

Over two days in early November, the Breeders’ Cup pits the best Flat racehorses from around the world against each other and a number of these races happen all over the world each year. Horses can punch their ticket to the Breeders’ Cup by winning at other big meetings including Royal Ascot, the Kentucky Derby, Irish Champions Weekend, and Arc weekend in France. The event brings the curtain down on the Flat season in style.