Horse Racing: How Do the Big UK Races Compare to the US Events?

Horse racing is a sport that’s loved the world over, from the United States to the Middle East and Australia. Hop on a plane to most countries and they’re likely to have an interest in the industry. Of course, the United Kingdom is up there with the best of them because it has a colourful history dating back centuries.

The States is also keen on big events, particularly the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup meetings. What happens next is inevitable – you want to know who’s better. While they don’t compare perfectly, it is possible to take a look at what both offer. Just read on to find out more.

Horse racingProfitability

One area where the US scene triumphs is financially. Although the winners of the UK’s biggest races aren’t paupers by any means as the winner of the Epsom Derby takes home around £1.6 million, which is the equivalent of $2 million. Still, two of the richest races on earth take place in America, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Pegasus World Cup.

The former was billed as the most lucrative horse racing event in the world when it was first launched, and it does its best to live up to its word. The prize pot has dropped in recent years for financial reasons, yet it was as high as $18 million in 2018. When the organisers secure extra funding, the amount is expected to reach that figure once again.


British horse racing is hard to beat when it comes to the esteem stakes. Over the decades, the union has done its best to build a series of events that are held in high regard globally, which has been executed brilliantly. For instance, Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood, and Epsom all command entries from the greatest owners and trainers.

Plus, there is the Cheltenham Festival, which regularly boasts crowds of 250,000 over four days. However, it’s probably The Grand National that holds a special place in a lot of fans’ hearts. Completing the challenging course and distance is tribute enough to a horse’s willpower, so to win it is incredible.

Everyone is desperate to get a piece of the action, which is why the betting markets open early. Right now, the horse racing betting odds say that Cloth Cap is a clear favourite at 6/1, a long way in front of Kimberlite Candy and Burrows Saint at 16/1 respectively. Whatever happens, it’s well worth watching and this is due, in part, to the reputation of the race as well as the sheer power and talent of the competitors.


When football is on the TV in the UK, there is no point in competing. It is the dominant force in Britain and the world. Still, horse racing has a few tricks up its sleeve, which is why it always succeeds from a spectator’s perspective.

The size of the crowds at big events has been touched on already. What hasn’t been touched on is how horse racing is often broadcast on terrestrial TV stations in the United Kingdom. A staggering 500 million people are expected to tune in to the three-day festival in April when it hits ITV. Even rugby and cricket struggle to compete with these numbers from a sporting point of view.

The US has the money, but it appears that the UK wins out when it comes to the esteem and popularity of the sport among the masses.

Latest posts