The world’s richest horse races - the top five prize
pots in horse racing
Like most sports around the world, prize money in horse racing
continues to grow at extraordinary rates. Just like the money in
other sports like football and golf continues to rise, prize funds
at some of the biggest horse racing meets in the world can be
Some of this money has come from the growth in the popularity of
horse racing in countries like Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.
In 2020, the Saudi Cup boasted the highest prize money in the
world with a bounty of $20 million USD.
With more and more people gambling on horse racing online, opening
up international markets and making it much easier for punters to
place a bet, it’s perhaps no surprise to see these prize funds
continuing to grow.
Let’s take a closer look at five of the richest horse races in the
world right now.
It seems like the oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia is continuing
to up its interest in global sport. They have long been linked
with some of the biggest takeovers in world football, pumping
millions into some of the best football teams in the world.
Now, they have turned their attention to horse racing.
In 2020, Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal announced that the
Saudi Cup would have a $20 million pot and was run at the King
Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh in February 2020.
The winning horse collected a staggering $10 million, with horses
down to 10th place earning a diminishing share of the
In 2021, the race was forced to be run behind closed doors,
however, it was still billed as the world’s most valuable horse
race and it is expected to be back in front of crowds once again
The Pegasus Cup
Introduced in 2017, the Pegasus Cup started life as the richest
horse race on the planet, only to be surpassed by the Saudi Cup in
Still, the race offers up a staggering prize pool worth $16
million with an entry fee for each of the 12 slots of $1 million.
In 2019, the race organisers changed the structure of the meet,
with the prize pot split across two Grade 1 races - the Pegasus
World Cup Invitational and the new Pegasus World Cup Turf
The prize fund remains the same - $16 million - with $9 million to
the World Cup Invitational and $7 million to the turf race. Entry
to each race costs $500,000 with the owner scooping a $1 million
bonus if they win both events.
The Dubai World Cup
Held at the Meydan Racecourse, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the
Dubai World Cup is a Grade 1 race that has been run every year
since 1996, marking the end of the UAE racing season.
The prize fund has been boosted to $12M with Mystic Guide, trained
by Michael Stidham, the winner of the 2021 edition, taking home an
eye-watering $7.2 million.
Run over mile-and-a-quarter (10 furlongs), the race invites
four-year-olds or above from the Northern Hemisphere and
three-year-olds or above from the Southern Hemisphere.
Right here in Australia, we are home to the fourth richest horse
race on the planet and the world’s richest race on turf.
Run over six furlongs, The Everest brings the world's top
sprinters together at Royal Randwick, Sydney. It's only been in
existence for two years but has already surpassed the Melbourne
Cup as the country's richest race.
The race has prize money of $14 million and is held in October
every year as a feature race of the Sydney Spring Carnival.
The race has an unusual entry fee structure, similar to that of
the Pegasus World Cup. Twelve "slots" are sold for $600,000 each,
which represents a slot in the starting gate for a then
unspecified horse. The slot holder then has the right to race,
lease, contract or share a starter, or sell their place in the
The Breeders’ Cup Classic
It’s back over to the USA for the fifth and final entry on our
list of the richest horse races in the world.
The Breeders' Cup Classic is a Grade I Weight for Age thoroughbred
horse race for 3-year-olds and older run at a distance of 1+1⁄4
miles (2,000 m) on dirt. It is held annually at a different
racetrack as part of the Breeders' Cup World Championships in late
October or early November.
The Classic is considered by many to be the premier thoroughbred
horse race of the year in the U.S., although the Kentucky Derby is
more widely known among casual racing fans.
The Classic once held the title of the richest horse race in the
world, however at $6 million, this prize fund has been dwarfed by
the races that feature above it in the list. Still, with $3.3
million going to the winner, it is still a race that captures the
imagination of owners and punters alike.
There are, of course, some famous horse racing meets around the
world that attract huge prize funds. The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe
in Paris is Europe’s richest horse race with a total prize fund of
The Japan Cup is another race that attracts the world’s best
three-year-olds and above, competing for a prize pool of $5.8
Back here in Australia, the Melbourne Cup is still widely regarded
as one of the best horse races in the world and up until the
introduction of The Everest, was also the richest in Australia.
The prize pot for the Melbourne Cup still sits at around $8
million AUD with the winner collecting a staggering $4.4 million.
In 2021, the Melbourne Cup will be held on Tuesday 2 November and
early odds make Incentivise the favourite with Betway Sports at
12.00, closely followed by Dawn Patrol at 13.00 and Realm of
Flowers at 17.00.
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including racing articles, form analysis and racetrack statistics
with Prio Punter.
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