Wednesday, April 29

GUEST ARTICLE: The Best Thoroughbred Races on Two Continents


As punter scour their European form guides and/or form guides in Australia, they often get the chance to wager on some of the top races in the world. Given the level of competition in some of these races, punters are challenged to handicap against the racing industry's biggest superstars using only their European form guides or form guides in Australia. Under the category of the best of the best, here are five of the most important horses races on these two continents.

1. Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - Longchamp Racecourse (Paris, France), 2040 meter on turf, Group I, Three-years-old and up, purse of US$5,000,000+. As the European flat season draws to a close, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is often positioned to determine the Cartier Horse of the Year honors. The race has been run since 1920 with many of the best turf horses from around the world lining up with the starter. Through the years, six jockeys have won the race four times (Jacques Doyasbère, Freddy Head, Yves Saint-Martin, Pat Eddery, Olivier Peslier, Thierry Jarnet) while one trainer, André Fabre, has accounted for seven wins. Prior winners include Ribot, Alleged, Prince Royal, Mill Reef, Sagace, Montjeu and Treve (2013 & 2014).

2. Melbourne Cup - Flemington Racecourse (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 3200 meters on turf, Group I, Three-year-olds and up, purse of AUS$6,200,000. As one of the most grueling races for true stayers, the Melbourne Cup remains as the richest grass event in the world. Australia's preeminent race has a rich history as horses from all over the world have assembled for the Melbourne Cup Spring Festival. The Cup is run as an invitational race with a complex nomination process. One notable record comes from trainer Bart Cummings who has won this race an amazing 12 times. Past Australian champions that have won the race include Makybe Diva (3 times), Empire Rose, Kingston Town, Black Knight, Think Big, Peter Pan and the great Phar Lap.

3. King George IV & Queen Elizabeth Stakes - Ascot Racecourse (Ascot, England), 2414 meters on turf, Group I, Three-years-old and up, purse of £1,065,000. In the heart of the summer racing season, the King George IV & Queen Elizabeth Stakes has drawn many of the top distance specialists in the world since 1951. It is also the centerpiece of the Royal Ascot Meet. The race was won by the legendary Lester Piggott on seven occasions while three trainers have accounted for five wins apiece. Past champions that have added this race to its resume include Nijinsky, Ribot, Mill Reef, Dahlia (twice), Nashwan, Lammtarra, Swain (twice) and Taghrooda in 2014.

4. Irish Champion Stakes - Leopardstown (Co. Dublin, Ireland), 2012 meters on turf, Group I, Three-years-old and up, purse of €1,000,000. During the racing calendar, this event usually draws many of the best milers in Europe. In it's relatively abbreviated history (1976), the race has been dominated by Ireland's most prominent human connections, including Michael Kinane (jockey), Aidan O'Brien (trainer) and Sue Magnier / Michael Tabor (owners), all seven-time winner. Past champions include Sadler's Wells, Muhtarram, Giant's Causeway, So You Think (AUS), Dylan Thomas (twice) and Sea the Stars.

5. W.S. Cox Plate - Moonee Valley Racecourse (Melbourne, Australia), 2040 meters on grass, Group I, Three-year-olds and up, purse of A$3,000,000. While serving as a major prep race for the Melbourne Cup, the Cox Plate has a great deal of quality on its own. The race has been run since 1922 with many of the continent's greatest race horses claiming victory. They include Phar Lap, Tranquil Star (twice), Tobin Bronze (twice), Kingston Town (three times), Strawberry Road and So You Think (twice).

 
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