29 April 2024

The World's Greatest Races

The World’s Greatest Races have long determined the World’s Greatest Racehorses. Without winning at least one of the world’s best races, a horse will rarely go down as a champion of the sport. With racing all over the world, each racing jurisdiction has its strengths and weaknesses.

In Australia, sprinting distances are the forte, in Europe, middle distance and classic distances. America is the same. Hong Kong is consistent with Australia, whilst Japan is currently viewed as the dominant staying jurisdiction despite traditional challenges from the UK.

With so much great racing all ready to take place in 2024 we thought it time to have our say on the world’s Greatest Races. With some tough calls and interesting decisions we laid out 20 of the World’s Greatest Races. This list is based on our opinion of the most highly competitive races worldwide and not necessarily the most famous.

  1. Prix de l’arc de Triomphe: Taking out the number one spot and the only French race in the top 20 is ‘the arc’. World-renowned for bringing together the world’s greatest horses at the conclusion of the European racing season over the classic mile and a half, the arc has a history better than any other. With countless champions and many of the world’s greatest-ever racehorses, the arc is undoubtedly the hardest race in the world to win.

    Sea The Stars winning the 2009 Arc

  2. The headline act of one of the great racing carnivals, the Breeder’s Cup Classic is world-renowned for coronating many of the greats. Most recently in 2022, the classic justified the hype around one of the greatest ever on dirt, Flightline.

  3. The Japan Cup is known for its gruelling competition. Travelling to Japan is very difficult and Japanese racing is arguably the dominant force in world racing right now. This was seen only this year when the world’s best horse of 2023, Equinox, won dominantly for Christophe Lemaire.

  4. The Everest is the newest race on the list, but easily in the top 5 races in the world. Rated highly in every edition, the race is the richest on turf and showcases Australia’s best sprinters in a high-pressure situation. Not yet with the littering of greats in its honour roll but with time could easily enter the top 3 races in the world.

    Frankel destroyed his rivals in the Queen Anne Stakes

  5. The Queen Anne Stakes is internationally viewed as the strongest mile race in the world. Run during the Royal Ascot carnival after the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, the Queen Anne is run down the famous one mile straight and holds its place as Frankel’s greatest-ever victory.

  6. The Autumn Tenno Sho showcases the variety of strong gallopers Japan has to offer and its recent honour roll from the last 10 years, which includes Japanese champions Almond Eye, Maurice and Equinox has meant it has earned its place well inside the top 10.

  7. The Juddmonte International is often the race that determines the strength of the 3-year-old season. Winners the likes of Frankel, Australia and Ghaiyyath have taken their credentials to another level with victory in York’s greatest race.

  8. The Breeder’s Cup Turf, along with the Cox Plate is one of the more unique 2000m races in the world. With a small tight turning track at whatever venue it is held at, it has been a place Coolmore champions are coronated, with recent winners including Auguste Rodin, Found and High Chapparal.

  9. The Dubai Sheema Classic is one of the early tests for the European and Middle Eastern staying horses. Equinox, Mishriff and Postponed have all launched their campaigns off of victory in the Classic which remains the Middle East’s strongest turf contest.

  10. The Hong Kong Mile rounds out the top 10 with the exploits of Maurice, Beauty Generation and Golden Sixty launching the quality of the race in the past decade. Renowned for its pace, the mile is one of the hardest races to win due to its unique conditions.

    Maurice winning the Hong Kong Mile

  11. The W.S Cox Plate is Australia’s great middle-distance contest. It has solidified the legacies of some of the greats of Australian racing, with many racing pundits arguing that a middle-distance horse cannot be a true champion unless it wins a Cox Plate.

  12. The Kentucky Derby is America’s greatest race, whilst the event itself would easily be one of the top 3 races to attend worldwide, the race’s quality is only so good that it can land 12th. Many of America’s great stallions have won the Kentucky Derby.

    One Of The Great Views In World Racing. The Kentucky Derby

  13. The King George as it is known gives 3-year-olds a chance to solidify their place as one of the world’s best horses when tackling the older horses after the Derby, whilst also giving the chance for older horses to showcase their strength at the world-famous Royal Ascot.

  14. The Dubai World Cup is the strongest dirt race outside of America and is where the rest of the world takes on the best America has to offer. Some of the greats including Dubai Millenium have shown their strength here, whilst recently Thunder Snow became the first horse in 2018 and 2019.

    Monterosso for Godolphin winning the 2012 Dubai World Cup

  15. The Epsom Derby is easily one of the must-go to races in the world. Dubbed as the Greatest Flat Race On Earth, it would have held strong in the top 5 throughout the 20th century, however, its quality has been questioned in recent years due to mixed form coming out of the race. However, it has the ability to have a few good crops and return to the top 10.

  16. The Ascot Gold Cup is undoubtedly the strongest staying contest in the world. The greats including Yeats and Stradivarius have repeatedly secured victory in the race, solidifying their holds on the title as the world’s best stayer. It is one of the only races that reflects racing in the 19th and early 20th century where races were run over longer distances.

  17. The St James’s Palace Stakes brings together the best 3YO European milers who race for the chance to solidify their stallion claims. Many great match races and battles have taken place in the Royal Ascot classic, with differing form lines often coming from the Irish 2000 Guineas and the 2000 Guineas held at Newmarket in May. Recent winners like Paddington, Kingman and Palace Pier have added the St James’s Palace Stakes to their CV before going on to higher honours.

  18. The Melbourne Cup on experience along with the Kentucky Derby and The Arc in the top 3 races to experience live, however, the quality of the race has been questioned since Australian racing has turned to a sprinter/miler focus. However, the race still holds strong in the top 20 for now, with recent winners like Verry Ellegant putting together brilliant CVs before their crowning moments in the race that stops the nation.

    Vow And Declare gets his head in front in the 2019 Melbourne Cup

  19. The Belmont Stakes is considered by many to be the hardest of the American Triple Crown races to win. With the gruelling step up to the 2400m often bringing champions unstuck. This was no issue for the likes of Justify, however, whose greatest win in his undefeated career came in the Belmont.

  20. The T.J Smith Stakes is on a very similar level to the Newmarket Handicap and the Champion Sprint (both at Flemington), in the battle for number 20 and the battle to be named the second-best sprint race in Australia. However, the Newmarket being a handicap and the Champion Sprint not yet bringing together the best Australia has to offer means the T.J gets the nod. Won repeatedly by the champions, it is often the autumn race of the season along with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.






Notable Winners – Last 15 Years

  1. Prix de l’arc de Triomphe

Longchamp (FRA)



Ace Impact, Enable, Sea The Stars, Treve

  1. Breeder’s Cup Classic

Changing Venue (USA)



Flightline, Arrogate, American Pharaoh, Gun Runner

  1. Japan Cup

Tokyo Racecourse (JAP)



Equinox, Almond Eye, Contrail, Vodka

  1. The Everest

Royal Randwick (AUS)



Nature Strip, Redzel, Giga Kick, Classique Legend

  1. Queen Anne Stakes

Ascot (UK)



Frankel, Baeed, Palace Pier, Goldikova

  1. Tenno Sho (Autumn)

Tokyo Racecourse (JAP)



Equinox, Maurice, Almond Eye, Kitasan Black

  1. Juddmonte International

York (UK)



Frankel, Australia, Roaring Lion, Ghaiyyath

  1. Breeder’s Cup Turf

Changing Venue (USA)



Auguste Rodin, Tarnawa, St Nicholas Abbey, Found

  1. Dubai Sheema Classic

Meydan (UAE)



Equinox, Mishriff, Postponed, Rewilding

  1. Hong Kong Mile

Sha Tin (HK)



Golden Sixty, Beauty Generation, Maurice, Admire Mars

  1. W.S Cox Plate

Moonee Valley (AUS)



Anamoe, Winx, Lys Gracieux, So You Think

  1. Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs (USA)



Justify, American Pharaoh, California Chrome, Nyquist

  1. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

Ascot (UK)



Enable, Postponed, Adayar, Nathaniel

  1. Dubai World Cup

Meydan (UAE



California Chrome, Arrogate, Thunder Snow, Country Grammar

  1. Epsom Derby

Epsom (UK)



Golden Horn, Australia, Camelot, Auguste Rodin

  1. Ascot Gold Cup

Ascot (UK)



Yeats, Stradivarius, Kyprios, Order Of St George

  1. St James’s Palace Stakes

Ascot (UK)



Paddington, Kingman, Palace Pier, Frankel

  1. Melbourne Cup

Flemington (AUS)



Verry Ellegant, Without A Fight, Americain, Protectionist

  1. Belmont Stakes

Belmont Park (USA)



Justify, American Pharaoh, Essential Quality, Tiz The Law

  1. T.J Smith Stakes

Royal Randwick (AUS)



Black Caviar, Chautaqua, Nature Strip, I Wish I Win

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