Horse racing has been a hugely popular sport around the world for centuries, with a charm and heritage that makes it an admired sport from people of all walks of life. But some races have gained status and prestige over the years to become the most anticipated events of the horse racing season. These are the top racing events from around the world that draw in crowds of thousands of spectators every year.

The Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot was started in 1711 and takes place in June each year in Berkshire, England. It’s one of the most formal and prestigious horse racing events in the world and is a huge event in British culture. The Queen attends every year, arriving in horse-drawn carriages on each of the five days, and attendees include members of the Royal family and elite celebrities. It has a uniquely strict dress code and more than 300,000 people attend each year to watch the exhilarating races, with many more tuning in around the world to watch on TV.

The Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the US Triple Crown and is held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, in May of each year. It takes place in Baltimore, Maryland, and is renowned for its thick blanket of yellow flowers that is hung in a garland around the winner’s neck. The Preakness Stakes is a quick race that’s typically over in just two minutes and is a race for thoroughbreds. It’s the second-most well-attended racing event in the USA and is famous for its post-race outdoor party where thousands enjoy celebrating the day’s events.

Nakayama Grand Jump

The Nakayama Grand Jump has taken place in Funabashi, Japan, since 1999 over a track spanning 4,250 metres. It’s Japan’s most prestigious horse racing event and has a purse of $1.7 million, making it one of the richest steeplechase races in the world. The track that the horses have to traverse is incredibly challenging, with many sharp turns, jumps and twisted paths, which tests the racers and the horses to their limits. Horses have to be four years old or over and thoroughbred in order to compete the Nakayama Grand Jump. But unlike some of the other races in this list, this event is more popular with families than celebrities and wealthy attendees.

Melbourne CupThe Melbourne Cup has been an annual horse racing event in Australia since 1861 and has a purse of $6.2 million. It’s held at the famous Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne and is the richest horse racing in the Southern Hemisphere by a huge margin. It’s popular with A-list celebrities and sport stars, and attendees are required to adhere to a strict dress code. The horses competing in the Melbourne Cup must be three years old or over and with an average of more than 11,000 people attending the event each year, it’s one of the world’s biggest and most popular horse racing meets.