Horse racing is popular all over the world. It may not be able to compete with the likes of football and cricket in terms of fans but it is certainly watched all over the globe and the big international races have a massive appeal to both enthusiasts and punters alike.

Richest Events In Horse Racing:

  • Saudi Cup - $20 million
  • Dubai World Cup - $12 million
  • The Everest - $10 million
  • The Golden Eagle - $6.5 million
  • Breeders' Cup Classic - $6 million
  • Dubai Sheema Classic - $6 million
  • Arima Kinen - $5.9 million
  • Japan Cup - $5.9 million
  • Melbourne Cup - $5 million
  • Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - $5 million

Let’s take a look through the top ten most valuable races in the world. These have been ranked in terms of the total prize purse on offer.


First run in 2020, the Saudi Cup immediately went to the top of the richest horse races pyramid based upon the prize money on offer.

The winning horse gets $10m, with even the 10th place finisher also receiving £200k. The race is held in February each year at Riyadh Racecourse in Saudi Arabia and is run over 1m1f.


Run at the end of March at Meydan over a distance of 1m2f, the Dubai Gold Cup held the mantle of being the world’s richest race from its inception in 1996, right through until 2020.

Won in the past by racing greats such as Cigar, Dubai Millennium and Arrogate, the race remains a major global draw.


This six furlong Australian sprint race carries a purse of $15m.

Staged at the Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney in mid-October, the race was first run in 2017 and is officially the richest turf horse race in the world, with the two events above being run on dirt.


Run at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney on the last Saturday in October, the event is staged over 7½ furlongs.

Exclusively a contest for four-year-olds, the race is pretty much unheard of outside of Australia, despite carrying more prize money than the Melbourne Cup.


Back in 1984 this was once the world’s richest race. Run over 1m 2f at the Breeders’ Cup meeting in early November, the race is run at a different track each year as the fixture moves around the country.

It is also a very popular event for those who enjoy doing their online horse racing betting overseas.


This Group One turf event is staged at Meydan in March on the Dubai World Cup card.

The race is for four-year-olds or older and run over a trip of 1m4f. Godolphin runners have a record second to none in it.


Run over 1m4½f at Nakayama Racecourse, the contest is the richest race in Japan.

Taking place each year in late December the race is the biggest betting race on the planet. It is even more popular than having a bet on Cheltenham!


The Japan Cup is run over 1m4f and is staged in late November at Tokyo Racecourse.

The race has been won by international entrants before, but in recent years has been dominated by the home-breds from Japan.


Billed as the ‘race that stops a nation’ there is a public holiday in the city of Melbourne each year in November when the Australian feature takes place at Flemington Racecourse.

Run over a trip of 2m, the staying contest has been targeted by European raiders for a good 25 years or so now.


The Arc is by far the richest horse in Europe and just about scrapes into the top ten richest races globally.

The race is run over 1m4f on the first Sunday of October each year at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris. Andre Fabre has trained the winner 8 times, while Frankie Dettori holds the most wins as a rider with 6 Arc victories.

Richest UK Races (2024)

Sadly no UK horse races even come close to making this global list, but what actually are the UK’s best horse races in terms of prize money?

Jumps Racing

  1. Grand National (Aintree)

  2. Gold Cup (Cheltenham)

  3. Champion Hurdle (Cheltenham)

  4. Queen Mother Champion Chase (Cheltenham)

  5. Ryanair Chase (Cheltenham)

Flat Racing

  1. Champion Stakes (Ascot)

  2. Derby (Epsom)

  3. Juddmonte International (York)

  4. Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Ascot)

  5. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Ascot)

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.