Which are the three major horse races in the world?

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Horse racing, unlike golf, doesn’t have a fixed series of Major events. Instead, every year there are a number of top races around the world for the three-year-old generation, including the Derby, Oaks and Guineas, and the major stakes races for older horses including the Breeders Cup Classic, the Melbourne Cup and the Dubai World Cup.

Most experts and racing fanatics will agree that the world’s two standard-setting, stud book-defining races are the Group 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, USA and the Group 1 Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs, UK. These will be Numbers 1 and 2, respectively, on the shortlist of most fans and fundis – in no particular order.

The famous Kentucky Derby is dubbed "The Run for the Roses", stemming from the blanket of roses draped over the winner after each KY Derby renewal. It is also known in the United States as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" because of its approximate duration. It is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes. It has been run uninterrupted since 1875. Household names like War Admiral, Northern Dancer, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, American Pharaoh and Justify appear on its long roll of honour.

Horse Racing
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The Derby, open to three-year-old colts and fillies, is Britain's richest flat horse race, and the most prestigious of the five British classics. It is sometimes referred to as the "Blue Riband" of the turf and its winners invariably go on to major careers at stud. Winners of The Derby include such famous names as Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Troy Shergar, Galileo, Sea The Stars and Camelot.

As for a third major choice, this will depend on where your allegiances lie. South Africans will insist that the Durban July or even the Cape Met is right up there with the world’s leading races. The French will make a good case for the Prix de l'arc de Triomphe and Australians will undoubtedly regard the Melbourne Cup - ‘the race that stops the nation’ - as a Top 3 definite!


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Published: 01/10/2022