Top Ten Bucket List Racecourses To Visit

With an abundance of racecourses all over the globe, it is almost impossible to visit them all. With that in mind here is our list to the top 10 racecourses to visit in your lifetime.

Broome, Western Australia

Making the list mainly due to its stunning scenery and incredible atmosphere. The Broome Turf Club is just a stone's throw from world famous Cable Beach. This idyllic location perched on the Broome peninsula is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and benefits from the constant cool breezes which are a welcome relief in the hot and humid climate. Combining that with post race parties extend well into the evening with guests reluctant to go home. The uniquely Australian game of two-up is enjoyed by all who give it a go, and for those who wish to dance the night away, there is an abundance of great live entertainment.

Churchill Downs, Kentucky

Known as the home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, Churchill Downs Racetrack conducts Thoroughbred horse racing in Louisville, Kentucky during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. The racetrack occupies 147 acres, featuring a one-mile dirt, oval racetrack and a seven furlong turf race course. It is said that the Kentucky Derby is amongst the major sporting events America has to offer, with a constant incredible atmosphere from morning to night for at least two days.

Santa Anita Park, California

With an incredible view of the San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop to the racecourse itself this historic racecourse couldn't be left out. Playing host to some of the greatest racehorses over the years, which includes the likes of Seabiscuit, Santa Anita Park truly is an incredible racecourse.

Chantilly, Paris

Located 31 miles north of Paris, Chantilly is in the heartland of the French horse training area next to Chantilly forest. In 2016, this racecourse played host to the prestigious Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. For James Bond fans out there, Chantilly was used as the venue for the racecourse scene A View to a Kill. Not only is this a spectacular racecourse, being located so close to paris, Chantilly is on our bucket list!

Ascot, England

Ascot Racecourse is synonymous with quality, rich history and a truly incredible day out. With a new £185m redevelopment this racecourse plays host to one of the most famous horse race meetings in the world in Royal Ascot which takes part over 5 days, very few can question its place on this list.

Meydan, Dubai

Home to the longest single structure in the world, Meydan grandstand is over a mile in length, and can accommodate over 60,000 spectators. Having opened as recently as 2010, Meydan is an incredible place to visit and playing host to great racing fixtures, one of which is the Dubai World Cup, it’s a must on any racegoers list.

Flemington, Australia

Flemington is synonymous with Australia’s premier horse race, the Melbourne Cup, run on the first Tuesday in November since 1861. As well as the horses and the fashions of the Spring Racing Carnival, it's worth heading out to Flemington any time of the year to admire the landscaped gardens, including the largest public rose garden in the Southern Hemisphere.

Belmont Park, New York

Home to the world famous Belmont Stakes, for over a century Belmont Park has been graced by true legends of the sport, from Man o’ War to Curlin, Beldame to Rachel Alexandra, and Seabiscuit to Cigar. Located in Elmont, New York there's plenty to do around the racing itself, another reason why this makes our bucket list.

Saratoga, New York

Named one of the world’s greatest sporting venues by Sports Illustrated, the past comes alive in the historic grandstand every summer as fans experience not only the best in racing, but the unmatched ambience and charm of historic Saratoga Springs.

Aintree, England

Home to the world famous Grand National, Aintree is arguably home to British racing. Located in the north of Liverpool, not only is this racecourse rich with history the city is too. Liverpool’s an excellent laugh and will leave a lasting impression on you once you leave.

Top Five Highest Earning Horses of All Time

5. Zenno Rob Roy – $10.4 Million (£7.97m)

Born in 2000, this stallion Japanese Thoroughbred ran 20 times between February 2003 and December 2005, winning 7 races and being placed a further 10. His greatest success came as a four-year-old when he was named Japanese ‘Horse of the Year’ after winning the three all-aged Group One races which comprise Japan's Autumn Triple Crown!

 

4. Curlin – $10.5 Million (£8.04m)

Born in 2004, Curlin is to date the highest North American horse money earner! His record is very impressive having run 16 times, winning 11 and being placed a further 2 times. He was so impressive Curlin was elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2014.

 

3. Deep Impact – $12.8 Million (£9.81m)

Another Japanese horse making the list at number 3. Born in 2002, Deep Impact’s record is mighty impressive with 14 runs, winning 12 and placing once. During his time, he won the 2005 Japanese Triple Crown, the most prominent series in all of Japanese horse racing.

 

2. Makybe Diva – $14.6 Million (£11.2m)

Born in 1999, Makybe Diva is a British-bred, Australian-trained Thoroughbred who became the first horse to win the Melbourne Cup on three occasions (2003, 2004, and 2005). However, it wasn’t all so straightforward. The filly was offered for sale at the 1999 Tatts Newmarket foal sale, but did not make the reserve! What a steal that could’ve been.

 

1. T M Opera O – $16.2 Million (£12.42m)

Following the theme of Japanese horse racing dominance (at least in terms of money), T M Opera O makes the list at number 1, earning an eye-watering £12.42m. With a record that stands at 26 runs, 14 wins and 6 placed, this horse is the highest earning horse of all time!

Top Five After Work Summer Races

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1. Windsor

Keep Monday nights free for Windsor Racecourses’ weekly events, the Racing Breaks favourite for this summer is the Sausage Festival, held on 7th August. Other events include Cuban Race Night and Ladies Evening with a Take That afterparty! Royal Windsor Racecourse is situated by the River Thames, the first races were held between English Royalty and their noblemen in the 1600s. It has been tradition for races to held on Monday evenings in the Summer since the 1960s.      

There are direct trains from Waterloo station to Windsor which take around an hour. From the station, walk to Barry Avenue Promenade where there are river taxis to the Racecourse.


2. Ascot

Ascot plays host to the outdoor Luna Cinema this August, a quintessentially British event,

with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Notting Hill being played. Renowned for it’s beauty, Ascot enjoys strong connections to the royal Family. The renowned Royal Meeting takes place in June, attended by the Queen and other Royals, the most prestigious race being The Gold Cup.

London Waterloo, Reading and Guilford all have frequent trains to Ascot Station, which is a short walk from the racecourse.


3. Sandown

Racing and live music events complete Sandowns Summer calendar, with Tom Jones playing on Wednesday 19th July and Olly Murs on the 10th August, with evening racing taking place in between. The first purpose built racecourse, Sandown opened in 1875 and is located in the tranquil town of Esher, Surrey. The racecourses most renowned events include the bet365 Ultimate Celebration in April and the Coral Eclipse in July.

Sandown can be reached from Waterloo station, the journey should take around half an hour. The racecourse entrance is a ten minute walk from the station. Alternatively, if you are wishing to drive follow the venue signs to Sandown Park on the A3.


4. Kempton

Kempton Park Racecourses’ biggest event is an Irish Night on the 16th August. Additionally, throughout the month of August there will be weekly races on Wednesday evenings. In July 1987 Kempton Park Racecourse hosted its first race. It has since survived two world wars - becoming a transit depot and accommodation, although suffered damages as a result.

Located in Sunbury-On-Thames, getting there could not be easier - the racecourse has it’s own station (Kempton Park), with trains direct from Waterloo station.


5. Bath

The Racing Breaks event recommendation involves a cherished West Country tradition - cider. Held on Friday 4th August the 10th annual event includes live music from The Wurzels. Throughout July, August and September weekday racing takes place on Wednesday evenings and Thursday afternoons. Much like the city, Bath racecourse has a rich history, having been established in 1811. In 2015, a major renovation lead to new stands and parade rings being built.

Bath Racecourse can be reached from London Paddington station and south Wales lines. There is a shuttle bus from the station to the racecourse.

Qatar Goodwood Festival

The Goodwood Festival known to many as ‘Glorious Goodwood’ due to it’s thrilling racing and unmatched picturesque views, takes place each year at the beginning of August. Offering 5 days of sensational Flat racing and total prize money of over £5 million it is an event which nobody should miss. Set in the rolling Sussex countryside over the height of Summer, this event combines elegant fashion with top class racing.

Day 1:

This year gets underway on Tuesday the 1st August with its feature race being the recently upgraded Group 1 Qatar Goodwood Cup. Big Orange has won the last two runnings of this race and looks to make it a hatrick this year! Dubbed as a rematch of the Gold Cup run at Royal Ascot between Big Orange and Order of St George, which Big Orange front run and beat his foe by a nose this looked set to be one of the races of the year. However, unfortunately Order of St George is set to miss the race in recovery for a busy Autumn, so can one of the nation's favourite horses make it a hatrick of wins this year?

Day 2:

Day 2 plays host to one of the biggest flat races in the world, The Sussex stakes. The Group 1 race is run over a mile and worth £1 million in prize money, so it’s no surprise that it attracts some of the biggest names in flat racing. Having being won in 2011 and 2012 by the almighty Frankel, it is a race which everyone wants to win. This year sees a matchup between two great horses, Ribchester and Churchill. Ribchester goes into the race as bookies favourite after Churchill’s poor run at Royal Ascot which saw him finish 4th behind Barney Roy, Lancaster Bomber and Thunder Snow. Lancaster Bomber is also set  to run in this race so could he cause an upset? Priced at 16/1 this should be worth an E/W bet.

Day 3:

The third day of the meeting is the infamous Ladies Day one of the best of its kind in the country due to its elegance and great racing, this is a day not to be missed. With three group races and the Ladies celebrity, Magnolia Cup, it’s a great day of racing. The Magnolia Cup is now in it’s seventh year, this charity event allows leading women from a variety of industries, to take part in the opening race of Ladies' Day. The feature race of the day is the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, worth £600,000 and previous winners include Minding, Midday and Ouija Board. Winter is set to step up in trip to this 10 furlong race and it will be no surprise that she is already bookies favourite to win the race.

Day 4:

Friday will play host to 4 Group races, one of which is the Group 2 Qatar King George Stakes worth £300,000 and it’s not only the racing which should appeal to you, there will also be live music, great food and an award for the ‘Best dressed’ Lady on the day. Battaash lines up in The Qatar King George Stakes and looks like a strong favourite having won both of his races thus far this season.

Day 5:

The final day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival sees the Stewards Cup take centre stage. This historic race which is run over 6 furlongs and has been run since 1840 sees the finest equine speedsters attempt to claim the £250,000 prize. Previous winners of this 6 furlong sprint include Hoof it and Dancing Star. Having being won by the favourite in its last 2 runnings can Projection make it three in a row?

The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup

Dubbed the Ryder Cup of horseracing, The Shergar Cup is an annual horse racing spectacle usually held at the beginning of August at Ascot; but cast your mind back to late 90’s, and you may remember this wasn’t always the case.

The event, first held in 1999 at Goodwood, was originally split up into UK and Ireland horses competing against Middle East horses to win the cup. However, as we all know this has evolved greatly since its opening days. Today, we have competing jockeys instead of horses. With four teams consisting of three jockies split up between Europe, GB & Ireland (GB&I), Girls & Rest of the World (ROW) jockeys.

Captaining this year's European team is Racing Brakes ambassador, Frankie Dettori. The legendary jockey is joined by Adrie De Vries and Olivier Peslier.

Emma-Jayne Wilson captains the girls team with Hayley Turner and Steffi Hofer joining her to try replicate 2015’s success.

GB&I is captained by Tom Queally, with Jimmy Fortune and Richard Hughes looking to snatch their first ever GB&I win.

Finally, the ROW team will be looking to continue last year's success with a team captained by Craig Williams, with S’manga Khumalo and Yuichi Fukunaga filling in the remaining two places.

This cup isn’t one to miss. Being one of Ascot’s highlight of their year and attracting over 30,000 spectators each year, this race meet is one which is perfect for families (U-18s go free!) and other spectators outside the usual race-goers demographic. There is much to do for families in between races including fairground rides, extreme sport demonstrations and musical performances.

Although, this isn’t to say adults can’t have a good time either. With champagne and cocktail bars spread across the racecourse, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup day has become synonymous with late-summer fun and top class sporting action.

Racegoers have much to look forward to in the Afternoon. Live performances will pursue the last race at 4:30 from Craig David, All Saints, Feeder and Scott Mills up until 8:30 in the evening. Let’s just hope the weather holds out! Ascot is always a great laugh and easily accessible from London stations, with direct trains running regularly from Clapham Junction. Meaning, a night out in London is always on the cards after the racing.

Although the 2017 event may be sold out, this is certainly one you should out on your to-do list for next years fixtures.

Moet & Chandon July Festival Tips

Jack Nice, a specialist in form analysis and currently working at Ralph Beckett’s Group One winning stable, gives us his insider's view on the week of racing at Newmarket for the July Festival: who to back, who to follow and where to go! There is no better man to guide us through the week than Jack and he starts by telling us who he fancies in one of the first big races of the week. 


The Bahrain Trophy
I am looking forward to seeing Atty Persse step up to Group company in the Bahrain Trophy on Thursday, and he is a worthy favourite at 3-1. The race is usually won by a horse that has ran well at Royal Ascot, a trend that he fits after winning the King George V Handicap, but I think the value in the race lies with Wolf Country. 

He was impressive when winning a 12f Listed race at Saint-Cloud in May, before a gallant effort in the Dante where the front five pulled clear. The winner, Permian, has gone on to win the G2 King Edward VII at Royal Ascot, beating the Dante third, Crystal Ocean, into third again. The second, Benbatl, won the G3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Rekindling, the fourth, has won the G2 Curragh Cup. Wolf Country should enjoy the step back up in trip judging on his Listed win in France, and providing he handles the likely quicker ground he should run well at around 7-1. I would be waiting until post-declarations to see if he definitely runs before having a bet. If not, it is hard to see past Atty Persse. 

Princess Of Wales's Stakes
I am also looking forward to seeing Frontiersman, who runs in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes on Thursday. He has improved massively this season, resulting in a second last time to the mightily tough Highland Reel. He has since won the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, beating the subsequent Eclipse winner Ulysses and G3 winner Johannes Vermeer, who re-opposes here. Frontiersman came from a very uncompromising position that day, and ran as though he didn't handle the camber at Epsom. He has been impressive when winning both his previous visits to Newmarket, albeit on the Rowley Mile, and should take a good deal of beating here.

The Falmouth Stakes
The Falmouth looks slightly weaker than previous years, and Roly Poly is definitely the right favourite on account of her last two second place finishes behind the three-time G1 winning filly Winter. Arabian Hope did well to get past the tough Golden Stunner at York Last time, and has earnt her chance at this level. That form has already taken a boost with Spark Plug winning a Listed race at Sandown. Although she is up in grade here, she is back against her own sex and could outrun her odds.  

The Superlative Stakes
The Superlative Stakes on Saturday looks an open affair, but I was very impressed with the debut of Richard Fahey’s Great Prospector. A scopey son of Elzaam, he was held up towards the rear and travelled powerfully before passing the whole field down the stands rail to win easily. There are mixed messages to the form of the race, but the fourth and seventh have won since. Providing he handles the undulations at Newmarket, he can hopefully run a big race. 

The July Cup
The July Cup revolves around Caravaggio, and rightly so. He was hugely impressive at Ascot in The Commonwealth Cup, and the stiffer track here at Newmarket looks likely to be ideal for him. This will be the first time that he has tackled older horses and although in receipt of 6lbs it is still a tough ask. As much as he is still the most likely winner, he is priced accordingly, and I would rather take a chance on the older and more experienced Limato repeating his impressive win in the race last year. 

Renault Sport Trophy Handicap
The closing race of the festival is a competitive 12f 3yo+ 0-90 Handicap. Here And Now is a brilliantly tough and uncomplicated horse with a classy pedigree, being by Dansilli out of Oaks winner Look Here. The form of his last race at Chester could not have worked out better with the second third and fourth all winning since. He is not guaranteed to run there as he has a few options, but he is one to keep on side for the rest of the season. 

Hot Jockey & Trainer
In terms of a jockey and trainer combo to follow, I would stick with Charlie Appleby and William Buick, who both have a great strike rate at the course and have some good ammo to go to war with. Mark Johnston would be another trainer I would have onside, for the same reasons. 

Newmarket & July Course Tips
I would advise anyone going to the July Course for the first time to make sure that they head to the pre-parade ring. Sheltered by tall trees and away from the hustle and bustle of a usual raceday, it is a calm envionment to see the horses up-close before the race. There are always a few well-known paddock judges on hand to offer advice!

 

There are a big list of traditional resturants to head to after racing; The Packhorse Inn, The Pantry, The Tackroom, The Old Plough and The King’s Head. For a Chinese - The Fountain, Indian - Montaz and a Thai - Khobkhun, which is very good fun.

The Duel of the Jockeys Golf Day at the Berkshire Golf Club

A day filled with excellent golf, ice cold drinks and a fantastic BBQ to finish it all off, the duel of the jockeys golf day certainly lived up to expectations!

The day started off with sad news that Frankie Dettori was forced to pull out after injuring his arm in a paddock fall at Great Yarmouth the previous week. However, this was not to dampen spirits as Mick Fitzgerald was on standby to fill in his place, meaning it would be himself and Jim Crowley captaining their respective teams. With the sun trickling over the high rise trees, the players registered before sitting down to enjoy a tea or coffee and a breakfast roll to kick off the day.

After the welcome and briefing, the players made their way to their starting holes before teeing off at 11:00am. Across a number of the holes, players were greeted with opportunities to enjoy a variety of food and beverages throughout the day. Players visiting hole 1 were greeted to a succulent Gaucho steak and red wine. Hole 5 saw players enjoy a can of Pimms along with a charitable chipping challenge, with all proceeds raised being donated to the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF). The Albatross club greeted players on hole 12 as golfers were offered a glass of Whispering Angel fine rose wine. Finally, Your Golf Travel set up on hole 18 with players participating in a beat the pro challenge. As players approached their final holes, it was team Crowley who on this occasion triumphed as victorious!

Although the suncream was in full force throughout the day, by the time of the drinks reception and silent auction at 4:00pm there were a fair few red faces! However, I’m sure this wasn’t to matter too much with the alcohol swiftly numbing any pain. Albatross Club and other event partners offered a variety of silent auction items, again with all proceeds being donated to the IJF. Some of the more notable items included:

  • Three night luxury golfing stay for four in Tuscany

  • Two night 5* Florence spa break for two

  • Six night Safari stay for two

To follow the silent auction and drinks reception was a BBQ with a selection of meats, including chicken, sirloin steak and sausages as well as a salad bar.

To finalise what had been a spectacular day, guests were invited to attend and take part in an interesting celebrity panel debate ahead of the Royal Ascot racing festival. Celebrities hosting the panel included the two host jockeys (Mick Fitzgerald and Jim Crowley), Channel 4 racing presenter Rishi Persad and horse racing TV presenter Scott Hazleton. The panel indulged in interesting debates about the upcoming races, as well as providing to those in the room a number of tips for the week ahead. A fitting way to cap off a day which had been thoroughly enjoyable for all those involved.

Going to Royal Ascot?

Going to Royal Ascot?

Be first past the post at Royal Ascot this year by downloading the Racing Insider app now for the insiders guide to a day at the races.  Whether its advice on where to put your hard earned cash, how to style a winning outfit or which bar to head to for the best view of the track, Racing Insider has you covered.  

Join the Prosecco Cocktails Revolution with Premier Estates Wine

Join the Prosecco Cocktails Revolution with Premier Estates Wine

There are few things better in life better than sitting in the sun and enjoying a glass of chilled Prosecco, but one of those things is definitely sitting in the sun enjoying a chilled Prosecco cocktail and these seem to be all the rage right now. With the ever increasing popularity of sparkling wines, UK wine drinkers are conjuring up ways to enhance their favourite sparkling tipple. Mixing your Prosecco with your favourite spirit or liqueur and some fresh fruit juice is a great way to put a smile on the faces of your party guests or to just enjoy some quiet time in the garden.

Royal Ascot Fashion do's and don'ts

Royal Ascot Fashion do's and don'ts

Royal Ascot is the highlight of Britain’s social and fashion calendar as far as ladies days go. This is no time to experiment and its is certainly no place for a maxi dress, they belong on the beach! It’s one of those events when you see alot of people in the public eye play it safe, and with good reason the Queen is there! I like to think of it like putting on your Sunday best to see your granny, now look at your outfit, would granny approve? You don’t have to go in some boring highneck dress by any means this is high fashion and it can always be classy and still out there, so experiment with colours, hats and bags but just remeber your Queen is present!

Guess whats Back the Flat is Back!

Guess whats Back the Flat is Back!

The flat is back! The Craven meeting kicks off today and before we know it, the Guineas will be here! As you can tell we are a little excited! Now it can be a little early to tell who the stars of the season will be but with the exciting MONARCHS GLEN winning handsomely under Frankie Dettori last Wednesday night at Kempton, some stars are already shining through!

April Cheltenham Meeting with AP McCoy football match

April Cheltenham Meeting with AP McCoy football match

The April meeting at Cheltenham is where the jump season really starts to wind down and it’s a great mid-week race meeting to go to. The meeting is over two days and is a great time to head to Cheltenham to really see what it has to offer without having to fight your way to the bar. To help make this meeting even better on the Wednesday night after racing there is a charity football match, now this is no ordinary match with a few token jockeys thrown in this is AP McCoy heading up the jockeys team VS the Cheltenham Town Legends! Now we can all be honest and say for sure, unless you are an avid Cheltenham Town supporter we probably won’t of heard of most of them but they are probably going to be pretty good and thrash the jockeys you have heard off!

Why Dubai?

Why Dubai?

Why Dubai is a question I am often asked, some people love it, some hate it and some just don’t get it, but it is somewhere you must try. I am writing this after just returning from the Dubai World Cup where I was lucky enough to be sent out to host our group and view some of the new hotels. I have been to Dubai quit a few times and it is forever changing, like any city it is full of energy.

Nicky Henderson Yard visit

Nicky Henderson Yard visit

We were lucky enough to be invited to visit Nicky Henderson's yard this past Thursday (9th March) by the Albatross Club, and yes that is the week before Cheltenham as luck would have it. It was a great experience to see such a legendary trainers yard just 5 days before the biggest event in jump racing. We were given a tour of the whole yard, shown some of the top horses such as Sprinter Sacre and Altior, we watched horses work over hurdles and fences in preparation for Cheltenham and saw some of the younger horses worked on the gallops.

World book Day

World book Day

World book day is something everyone remembers from school, and I feel is something not celebrated enough in our adult lives. With everyone glued to their phones and busy with other day to day chores we forgot how nice it is to sit down with a good book. If like me you struggle to get really gripped by a book I think I have the perfect list for you! The perfect mix of humour, the nitty gritty of people's lives (I am terribly nosey) and good old fashion sex!