Melbourne Cup: Four of the world's biggest races

THE Melbourne Cup is not just a race that stops the nation, it stops the entire horse racing world.

The Cup is among the planet's most lucrative, luring in the best-bred horses, most competent jockeys and most ambitious trainers.


Those at the starting line will be fighting for their piece of a purse worth more than $6 million.

And if that figure fills your eyes with dollar signs, check out what the rest of the world has to offer as we go through some of the world's richest horse races.



The famed Dubai World Cup is the world's richest horse race with a $14 million purse.

Through the entire day of racing, the Dubai Racing Club offers $42 million in prize money.

The Cup has only existed since 1996, but with its exorbitant prize money, was quick to capture the attention of the world's best horses.

No horse has ever won the Dubai World Cup more than once.

The racetrack sits in front of a 1.6km long grandstand capable of seating 80,000 spectators and features "the world's first five-star trackside hotel".

To sample the "international buffet" offered during race season will set you back about $230 per person with "standard" drinks included.


The French Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe or the "Arc" is the world's second richest horse race behind the Dubai World Cup and the world's richest turf race.

Its $7.7 million purse lures in the world's best each year, when it (usually) runs on the first Sunday in October.

This year's winner Golden Horn took home $4.4 million.

Unsurprisingly the French take the Arc even more seriously than other nations with a Group 1 race.

It comes with the slogan, "Ce n'est pas une course, c'est un monument" - It's not a race, it's a monument.

The race's 95-year history was briefly interrupted during 1939 and 1940 as World War Two took its toll, but resumed in 1941 even as the destruction continued.



Protectionist wins the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Protectionist wins the 2014 Melbourne Cup.

Comparatively ancient compared to the number one spot, Australia's Melbourne Cup has built a reputation as a respected and rewarding event on the world's racing calendar.

The Cup's purse this year will contain $6.2 million in prize money, with the first-prize winner taking home 3.6 million.

Second place takes $900,000. Third earns $250,000.

The physical cup itself is worth $150,000.

Each year, two identical trophies are prepared in case of a dead heat.

With that lucrative purse comes the interest from the blow-ins.

Of this year's six Cup favourites, only two are from Australia: Preferment which is at $11 at time of writing and Criterion, coming in at $17.

Japanese Fame Game ($4.40), Italy's Trip to Paris ($9) and Amralah ($15), along with French Max Dynamite ($15) are all strong contenders to take our Cup offshore this year.




The 34-year-old Japan Cup, begun in 1981, offers a purse of JPN¥624 million - or roughly AUD$7.25 million - and is respected as one of the world's great end-of year races.

In its first year, only horses trained in Japan, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India were allowed in unless they were specifically invited.

A year later the rules were abolished.

The Japan Cup's purse eclipses the Melbourne Cup but the winner of the Australian race takes home more.

The Japan Cup pays out $3.157 million compared to the Melbourne Cup's $3.6 million for winners.

It also offers a bonus system for horses that win the Japan Cup on top of another major race, which includes the Melbourne Cup.

If they took victory then place in the Japan Cup this year, they will earn $842,000 for first, $336,000 for second and $210,000 for third.

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