The planet is filled with wonderful travel destinations, so how do you decide which one is perfect for your taste and needs? Well, one option for horse racing fans is to head off to the following places, where they can enjoy some of the finest events this sport has to offer.
France has a strong tradition of horse racing, and Paris is where most of the best action takes place. This is one of the world’s most attractive and highly visited cities, with a wealth of options to keep you happy away from the racetrack. As for the races you won’t want to miss, they are held at the Longchamp venue. It has a capacity of 50,000 and hosts the most prestigious French races each year. Having recently been opened after extensive modernization work, it provides a comfortable place to enjoy a day out placing wagers.
Among the top races here is the Grand Prix de Paris, which is held every July 14 to mark Bastille Day. The Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe is held in October and is high on the list of the richest horse races across the world.
The UK has a number of top-class races scattered across the country. One of the most atmospheric meetings is held at Cheltenham over four days each March. This is a National Hunt event, which means that the horses jump over fences and ditches as they make their way around the course. The Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Queen Mother Champion Chase are among the highest-profile races in the festival, and it is famous for the terrific atmosphere and a large number of wagers that are placed. Listen out for the famous roar when the first race starts too. It ends on a Friday, with the Gold Cup marking the climax of the whole event.
Cheltenham is a relaxed town in Gloucestershire that also hosts some important music and food festivals throughout the year. It is a couple of hours from London, so staying in the capital and travelling for a day of racing could make sense, although you should expect safety restrictions for the next couple of years.
No horse racing fan will want to miss the chance to visit the so-called Horse Capital of the World in Lexington, Kentucky. This is where you can see the Kentucky Horse Park and catch some races before exploring the rest of the state’s horse racing tradition. Even more appealing is the chance to visit Louisville and see the world-famous Kentucky Derby. You can find the current odds for the event here: twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/odds
You need to visit at the start of May for this, with the Churchill Downs racetrack the exact venue for the first leg of the American Triple Crown that also features the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes later in the year.
This is a highly-anticipated meeting each year, with spectators typically showing off their best summer fashion while watching the races. If you like the idea of joining a big crowd for an exciting race or two and a great day out, then it is hard to beat.
For something completely different, the lovely Italian city of Siena is possibly your best option. This is a historic race that is carried out by bareback riders around the Piazza del Campo for the thrilling Palio di Siena. Your best chance of witnessing this unique, medieval horse racing event is in July or August.
The city itself is a wonderfully well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage site. Art, food, and some terrific museums are among the other main attractions. Siena is just over an hour from Florence by road too, giving you the chance to visit two fantastic Italian cities on one trip.
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