The Biggest Horse Racing Regions in the World Ranked

Ranked: The Biggest Horse Racing Regions in the World

With horse racing season fast-approaching, buyers, punters, and fans will all have their eyes set on the major events closer to home, such as the Galway Races here in Ireland, and the Cheltenham, Grand National, and Ascot races in the UK. However, while the UK and Ireland racing scenes tend to draw the biggest crowds and the most money, these are not the only major markets for the sport. Many of the richest and most prestigious horse racing events now take place increasingly outside of these countries, in places that offer lucrative career opportunities for jockeys, buyers, and trainers. Read on to find out more about the biggest horse racing countries outside of the UK and Ireland. 


 Source: Pixabay

1. Japan

Few people outside of Asia tend to think of Japan when it comes to horse racing. However, the world's third-largest economy is also the largest horse racing market in the world in terms of value, boasting over £16 billion a year in revenues. Major events include the annual Japan Cup, formerly the richest turf race in the world with a £4.3 million prize purse. An estimated 21,000 official horse races are held within Japan every year, far more than any other country in the world. 

2. USA

The Kentucky Derby might hog all of the attention, but horse racing in the USA is a nationwide pastime. The country's £11 billion a year horse racing scene includes a high number of prestigious turf events, including the Breeders' Cup, the Arkansas Derby, and the Belmont Stakes. Horse racing pundits are increasingly taking notice of racing events in the US, which is why major horse racing bets and odds providers now provide updated odds on all races in the country. 

3. Hong Kong

Hong Kong may be small, but their passion for horse racing knows no bounds. This tiny semi-autonomous region of 7 million people has a horse racing industry estimated to be worth close to £6 billion a year, almost all of which is centred around the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The Jockey Club, with its main track located in the sleepy Happy Valley neighbourhood of the city, hosts over 700 races a year and is the official home of the Asian Racing Federation, the consortium of countries that determines horse racing rules for all of Asia. 

 Source: Pixabay

4. Australia

Australia might be more familiar to racing fans in the UK and Ireland, given the huge number of thoroughbreds that make their way to the Land Down Under to compete every single year. Australia's £3.7 billion a year horse racing market includes a number of widely-known international races, such as the Melbourne Cup and the Sydney Golden Slipper. In addition, Australia has been home to the richest turf race in the world since 2017, the glitzy Everest race that takes place at the end of the Sydney Spring Carnival, which boasts a prize purse of £11 million. 

5. France 

France has a tradition of horse racing that extends back centuries, with the Chantilly Racecourse in Oise having the distinction of being the oldest horse race track in Europe. France's £3.7 billion a year horse racing market is less active than the other countries on this list, with the bulk of activity and revenue being generated from a select number of prestige events. Among these are the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, the Grand Prix de Paris and, of course, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, considered by some to the be the most respected horse racing event on the planet. 

Any horse buyer or trainer looking to expand beyond the UK and Ireland should consider these countries to do so. If the numbers are anything to go by, their influence in the global horse racing market will only continue to grow.