…And They’re Off! The World’s Most Coveted Horse Racing Events and VIP Packages
The world of equestrian events is one which has long since attracted a well-heeled audience.
The sport of kings is often literally just that – the crowned heads of Europe and the wider sphere of global royalty, nobility and aristocracy regularly frequent the greatest horse races on the equestrian calendar. They attract in their wake a host of VIPs and UHNW individuals keen to get involved, place bets and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere trackside, resulting in several of the most lauded events becoming hubs of luxury hospitality and the highest of high society.
Over the years, decades and even centuries – many of these fixtures have a seriously impressive history and pedigree – the leading horse racing events have become unmissable dates in the luxury diaries of those seeking a piece of the action.
From the timeless sophistication and outlandish couture at England’s leading races to more contemporary fixtures in the Middle East’s opulent capitals, those looking to discover the unparalleled thrill of thundering hooves and elegant hospitality have plenty to choose from.
Experience the Utmost in Trackside Hospitality
There’s no doubt that the world’s greatest equestrian events have much to offer individuals looking for a truly unforgettable day at the races. Alongside the big ticket gambling opportunities (ranging from a ‘light flutter on the ponies’ to high roller bets and beyond), such events draw in some of the luxury sphere’s most coveted brands and sponsors.
Ever keen to ensure a dynamic and thoroughly sophisticated affair, these events today offer high-end hospitality packages and experiences, perfect for anyone interested in immersing themselves in the utmost in opulence. Gourmet and Michelin-inspired dining and catering services, beautiful suites and trackside viewing, Champagne on tap and opportunities in the high-yielding scenes of breeding and livery… horse racing events thoroughly deserve their reputation as the places to see and be seen.
Let’s take a look at the ten most luxurious horse racing events across the globe, and discover the unique VIP opportunities each one provides.
Covering several continents and imbued with a timeless essence of sophistication, these gatherings of royalty, high-flying opportunity and thrill seekers have more than earned their place on your luxury wishlist.
When: First Saturday in June
With a prize purse topping the $2 million mark and a stunning setting in the rolling Surrey countryside, the Epsom Derby is rightly recognised as one of the most prestigious races in England’s already luxurious equestrian scene.
With a history that impressively stretches back to the 1720s, the derby is a 1.5 mile turf race that draws a seriously well-heeled crowd. The Duchess’s Stand – which has a capacity of 11,000 seats – is the place to see and be seen, and the event is regularly frequented by British royalty and the global elite. The Green Room is regarded as the most valued VIP exclusive lounge, and where the most prized corporate and sponsored packages can be enjoyed.
The Saudi Cup
When: Last Weekend in February
When it comes to big money prizes, few horse racing events can compare with The Saudi Cup. A prize purse of a staggering $20 million – and a 1st place prize of $10 million – makes this the most lucrative equestrian event on Earth, and it’s no wonder it’s such a coveted race for the uppermost elites of the horse riding world.
Now in its third year, the Saudi Cup has more than established itself as a must-visit event on the luxury global calendar. It’s a bonafide sincere attempt by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to position itself on the world map of elite sporting fixtures, and one which is undertaken in peerless style. As one might expect, the VIP hospitality features at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh are second-to-none, and the organizers have huge plans for the coming years as this competition grows in stature and recognition.
When: Second or Third Weekend in October
Until the Saudi Cup stole the limelight, The Everest was – by no insignificant measure – the richest and most bedazzling equestrian event in the world. A prize purse of $14 million was a record breaker in its own right, and this track fixture at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, Australia truly put the Aussie racing world in the spotlight.
Set against the spectacular backdrop of one of the planet’s leading luxury destinations, it’s no real surprise The Everest has – since its inaugural year in 2017 – been a must-visit event for those seeking an opulent getaway down under. With a rich array of local and international sponsors ensuring the event meets the highest luxury standards, a ¾ mile track and the planet’s greatest racehorses shelling out $600k each for a chance of winning, it’s possibly the most appealing equestrian event on this list.
The Melbourne Cup
When: First Tuesday in November
If The Everest makes you want to spend some time in Australia, The Melbourne Cup will make you fall in love with Aussie horseracing fixtures. This awe-inspiring 2 mile turf race is where Australian equestrian history comes alive – it’s been an annual highlight since 1861 and sees a high end crowd of pundits, socialites and horse enthusiasts flock to Australia’s second city each year.
Melbourne has become a real hub for gastronomes and wine lovers in recent years, and this multi-sensory angle is more than represented at The Melbourne Cup. Visitors can expect gourmet dining encounters, representatives from the region’s most opulent vineyards, and the chance to get up close and personal with all the action from an array of stunning suites and viewing platforms for VIP guests.
The Grand National
When: Second Week in April
As the name suggests, England’s iconic Grand National horse race is all about dialing everything up to eleven. It’s a vast 4.5 multi-jump race that captivates the attention of the entire nation, and while the prize pot hovers around the $1 million mark, it’s an event which attracts some jaw-dropping bets and high-rolling opportunities.
Like England’s other premiere equestrian events – both Ascot and The Cheltenham Festival could have easily made this list – the Grand National caters impressively to an aristocratic crowd, offering elegant VIP hospitality options and the chance to rub shoulders with an array of blue-blooded attendees. Various luxurious viewing options, F&B encounters and hospitality packages are available, but many visitors love getting into the thick of the event and feeling the thrill of the race from the lively public stands.
When: Last Weekend in March
If there’s one part of the world which knows how to put on a show – no matter the type of event in question – it’s surely Dubai. The glamorous city in the United Arab Emirates hosts the Sheema Classic 1.5 mile horse race each Spring, drawing crowds of princes, sheikhs and international A-listers to place bets, relax in Arabian luxury and enjoy the hospitality on offer.
With a prize purse of $6 million, Sheema Classic is one of the richest horse races on Earth. Held at Meydan Racecourse just a stone’s throw from the dizzying opulence of Dubai harbour, it’s the perfect place to immerse oneself in the heady sophistication of one of the luxury scene’s newest and most exciting equestrian events.
The Breeders’ Cup
When: First Weekend in November
The first USA horse racing event on this list, the Breeders’ Cup is a spectacular showcase of horsemanship and livery, attracting enthusiasts and A-listers alike to its grandstanding gatherings. Hosted by a different venue in North America (occasionally in Canada) each year, it’s a chance for breeders from across the continent to come together, network… and demonstrate their leading horses’ abilities on the track.
VIP guests to the Breeders’ Cup in 2023 – held at the beautiful Santa Anita Park, California, can enjoy stunning hospitality options in a range of climate-controlled luxury marquees. Michelin-standard gastronomy, fine wine and champagne and a host of live entertainment options are sure to make it an unmissable luxury event for those wishing to be part of the action.
Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe
When: First Weekend in October
Held at the legendary Longchamp racecourse in Paris, France, the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is arguably the most iconic horse racing event in the world. The 1.5 mile turf track has hosted some of the planet’s most celebrated races, and the organizers have recently replicated their success, taking their brand to Qatar for an event that brings Parisian glamor to the opulence of the Middle East.
Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe combines the sheer breathless beauty of Parisian high life with the uppermost echelons of thoroughbred horse racing. Champagne flows endlessly, haute couture dazzles at various associated gala events, and the prize purse of $5,600,000 lends an aura of wealth to every aspect of the event. For VIP guests, combining a trip to the races with the wonders of Paris makes this racing event one never to be forgotten.
Dubai World Cup
When: Last Weekend in March
It’s a testament to the pulling power of Meydan Racecourse in Dubai that this Emirati venue boasts two races on this list. The Dubai World Cup – with its striking dedication to luxury, opulent hospitality and jaw-dropping displays of breeding and horseracing prowess – is, for many, the ultimate equestrian event on Earth. A prize purse of $12 million makes it a seriously coveted event, and an aura of wealth and thrilling sophistication permeates every aspect of this grand Arabian race.
Visitors to the 2023 Dubai World Cup can choose from a variety of VIP options. The uppermost package – The Royal Enclosure – essentially grants guests a royal audience. VIP Royal Enclosure guests also benefit from chauffeur or helicopter pick up and drop off, an exclusive banquet cooked by a private chef, an array of luxurious beverages and custom-made leather seats from which to watch the action trackside.
The Kentucky Derby
When: First Saturday in May
One of the USA’s most loved sporting annual fixtures, the Kentucky Derby is a genuine icon of American equestrian culture. It’s a seriously big money event, too – Americans gamble an approximate $200 million each year on the race, making it a major fixture that many understandably want to attend in person.
Held each Spring at the beautiful Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, the derby hosts an array of impressive luxury VIP packages for guests looking to make the most of their visit. Stunning exclusive clubhouse suites, private lounges and celebrity galas elevate the event each year, and there are several exclusive ‘derby parties’ which are held during the race weekend, many of which act as the perfect networking events… not least once the mint juleps start flowing.
Access VIP Packages at the World’s Greatest Racing Events with Aurae Lifestyle
Attending one or more of the horse racing events listed above isn’t just a chance to enjoy a fantastic day out, heightened by the blood-rushing thrill of watching the jockeys speed over the finish line. It’s also a fabulous opportunity to luxuriate in some of the most exclusive, most coveted and most meticulously-detailed hospitality offerings in the world.
Horse racing events have long been associated with high-end hospitality – they are, after all, the annual haunt of royalty, A-listers and business moguls alike. Year on year (and with several flashy newcomers to the annual horse racing event scene pushing the envelope), these events outdo themselves and each other with their F&B displays, private suites, parties, galas and more… and being a part of these events is a fantastic way to enter an otherwise fairly closed and covert world of high-flying deals, social circles and opportunities.
At Aurae Lifestyle, our concierge service is second-to-none, creating possibilities to access the world’s greatest events, gatherings, festivals, sporting fixtures, award ceremonies, exclusive hospitality venues… and much, much more. With luxury travel options and contacts with some of the most beautiful accommodation options across several continents, we’ve got the insight and sway to make every trip a chance to live life to its utmost.