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Wednesday 1 March 2023

The Toughest Horse Racing Tracks Around the World

One of the reasons that horse racing is such a popular sport is because of its unpredictability. You can think you have a sure-fire favourite, but until they finish first past the post, absolutely anything can happen.

Not all horse races and horse racing tracks are the same - and we don't just mean flat racing and jump racing, there are several other factors that can set them apart, making them tougher than the rest.

Each and every race, especially when you reach Grade I and Grade II event standards, will come with its own challenges - and pretty much all of these are simply the track on which they are running their race. However, although this is challenging for the horses and fun for the spectators, it makes it pretty tricky for the horse racing betting industry - as your winning bet could end up falling at any time.

Here, we will look at the toughest horse race tracks around the world and what makes them so challenging for the runners.

Aintree: Liverpool, UK

First, we will start with arguably the most famous racing track in the UK - however, this one is as challenging and difficult as it is iconic. 

Aintree has a magnificent history and first opened up in 1829. During almost 2 centuries in the business, it has been witness to some of the most incredible and nail-biting horse racing events ever. This is the home of the legendary Grand National, the biggest horse race in the country, famous for sapping the energy out of even the best and most respected of horses.

But why is that? What is it about the course that makes it so difficult to defeat? Well, the answer is simply the number of difficult jumps and obstacles that the horse and jockey need to clear.

Including the famous Bechers Brook, Canal Turn and The Chair. These, along with many others, work together to create one of the toughest and most demanding steeplechase races in the world, where only the best will prevail. In fact, in 1928, only 2 horses managed to complete the race out of 42 starters.

Flemington: Melbourne, Australia

Heading right over to the other side of the world, we have Flemington, in Melbourne Australia, which is home to the race that stops the nation, the famous 2-mile handicap Melbourne Cup.

This may be beautiful, sitting next to the breathtaking Maribyrnong River, but this pear-shaped track is filled with all sorts of difficult features that will trouble even the very best horses in the world.

This includes the ‘Straight Six’, the six-furling straight which requires an incredible amount of stamina from the horses and a whole lot of nerve, who have to ride their hearts out in front of 120,000 anxious spectators. 

Tokyo Racecourse: Fuchu, Japan

Next, we have the Tokyo Racecourse, situated in Fuchu in Japan. This was opened back in 1933 and hosts numerous races throughout the year including the famous Japanese Derby and the Japan Cup.

This is described by locals as the ‘Racecourse of Racecourse and it can hold a massive 223,000 spectators. It also has one of the biggest video screens in the world.

As well as this, it also offers five very different but all very difficult track options. There are alternative grass courses as well as a jump course and a dirt track. In just one year, it plays host to 8 Grade 1 stake races.

It may not be as famous or well-reputed as some of the others, but it definitely deserves a mention.

Belmont Park: New York, USA

This may only be 2400m, but this can be gruelling - and has earned the nickname of Big Sandy, as this dirt track can be incredibly tiring for the horses. It’s full of sweeping turns with a long home stretch and although it’s a fair course, it’s one of the most tiring for the horses and is a track for only the fittest.

Graphic: Canva (free)