Summer is here, and in years gone by, that meant something of a lull in the racing and betting season. Sure, there are still some high-profile flat races on the horizon like the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot, but the next National Hunt season seems an eternity away.
However, in the digital age, the world of sport has become a smaller place. For those who like betting on the football, for example, the end of the European season more or less coincides with the start of Major League Soccer in the USA, and online bookmakers provide odds and different betting options on games regardless of the league or the country where the sporting action is taking place. The bookies have become more international in nature, assessing the odds and form of different teams in different leagues across the globe to meet the requirements of worldwide sports betting customer base.
The same applies to the world or racing. Global networking deals along with online streaming mean that distance is no object, and similarly, bookmakers provide a range of odds and even some betting tips for meetings across the world. Here are some racing events that are big news in their home countries and are well worth a look, and indeed a bet, over the remainder of 2019.
Baden Baden Spring Festival
The spa town of Baden Baden is one of the most popular tourist locations in Germany. Its casinos have always made it popular with gamblers – this is the place where Dostoyevsky literally lost his shirt. It is also the venue for the country’s biggest horse racing events, and its racecourse is known as the “Royal Ascot of Germany.” The Spring Festival will take place over six days, starting on 29 May. There is more than a touch of the Cheltenham feel to the event, with each day having very different themes.
The Belmont Stakes
Think of American horse racing and you will probably think first of the “blink and you miss it” Kentucky Derby. For those more accustomed to horse racing in the UK and Ireland, the Belmont Stakes seems slightly less frantic, as it is run over a distance of 12 furlongs. Last year marked the event’s 150th anniversary, and Justify made it a year to remember, by adding victory here to wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, thereby winning the American Triple Crown.
The Melbourne Cup
The Australians love their horse racing, and there are several major meetings throughout the year. The biggest event of them all, however, is the Melbourne Cup, held every year at Flemington racecourse. With a history going back more than 150 years, it is an event that is steeped in tradition, and the list of winners includes legends such as Phar Lap, Think Big and Makybe Diva. This year’s race will take place on 05 November.
The Hong Kong Cup
This might not have the long history of some events – the first Hong Kong Cup took place in 1988 – but it is nevertheless one of the most prestigious Group 1 races on the international calendar. It is open to entrants from around the world, and its HK$25 million purse (about £2.5 million) is the highest of any 2,000-metre race in the world. This year, it will take place on Sunday 08 December.