If the thunder of hooves and the thrill of the racing doesn’t grab you, the sublime settings surely will.
From the grounds of a 16th-century chateau, to beaches, snow-covered lakes, glorious greensward and a track squeezed among skyscrapers, the sport of kings offers some spectacular venues for racegoers to savor. Here is a look at some of the most beautiful horse racing locations in the world.
Boasting the world’s first five-star trackside hotel, restaurants and a museum, Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse is a cathedral to 21st-century racing.The grandstand alone is more than a mile long and can host 60,000 spectators. What’s more, there is a rooftop infinity pool. Since it replaced the Nad Al Sheba racecourse in 2010, Meydan has been home to one of the richest horse races in the world — the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup.
St. Moritz, Switzerland
The upmarket ski resort is known for world-class winter sports, glitz, glamor and … horse racing? The venue for the White Turf event, which is held three days a year, isn’t your typical racecourse. Horses and jockeys compete on a frozen lake against the wintery backdrop of the Engadine mountains.
Flemington Racecourse, Australia
Home to the famous Melbourne Cup, Flemington is the oldest metropolitan racecourse in Australia.It was first used in 1840 when the town of Melbourne was just five years old. The revamped venue bursts into a kaleidoscope of colour and energy during the Melbourne Cup meeting. The historic race — dubbed the “race that stops a nation” — is a cultural and sporting icon, not just in Australia but around the world.
Piazza del Campo, Italy
Simply put, there is no racecourse in the world quite like the Piazza del Campo in Italy. The Palio di Siena horse race, which is held twice every year in July and August, dates back to medieval times when its first events were held on buffalo.
Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Nestled amongst the skyscrapers in Hong Kong is Happy Valley Racecourse, which was originally constructed in 1845 to provide racing entertainment for British expats in the city.
The name “Ascot” conjures visions of royalty, elegance, high fashion and world-class racing. The racecourse was opened in 1711 by Queen Anne and is one of the most celebrated venues on the horse racing calendar.
Spectacular and timeless, Chantilly racecourse nestles in front of the fairytale 16th-century Chateau de Chantilly amid a tree-lined tract 30 miles north of Paris. The track, which was created in 1832, also abuts the majestic Great Stables (Les Grandes Écuries), which were built in 1719 by estate owner, Louis Henri Duc de Bourbon, Prince of Condé.
Laytown Races, Ireland
For just a few hours every year, a stretch of sand on the Irish coast transforms into perhaps the most unique event on the horse racing calendar. Laytown Races — situated near the country’s capital Dublin — is the only official beach race in Europe.
Goodwood is the epitome of Englishness, boasting one of the most beautiful venues in the sport. The rolling Sussex countryside unfolds in front of the glistening white grandstand which plays host to some of the most prestigious Flat races in Europe.
National Hunt racing may not always offer the glitz and glamor of Flat racing but Cheltenham is certainly the exception. As well as offering the most prestigious jump meeting in the world, it also offers one of the most stunning settings in which to watch the sport.
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