Saturday, June 15, 2024

What Are the Biggest Horse Races in Spain? – Olive Press News Spain

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Spain is renowned for having some of the finest racecourses in Europe. The hot climate helps ensure the ground is perfect for the leading thoroughbred Flat horses.

Barcelona, Madrid and Sevilla are all major cities with prestigious courses. Here is a look at three of the biggest races and events across the Spanish racing calendar.

Gran Premio de Madrid

The Gran Premio de Madrid takes place annually on the last Sunday in June. It is run over 2,500 metres and it is open to three-year-olds and above. The race at the Hipodomo de la Zarzuela racecourse attracts the best colts and fillies in Spain and across Europe.

This international contest dates all the way back to 1919. The roll of honor in the race includes the French-trained Dariyoun who was successful in 1992. He was ridden to victory by Richard Hills, at the time breaking the record time in the race.

Some of the best jockeys in Europe continue to feature in the Gran Premio de Madrid, including William Buick, who is the odds-on favorite at -200 in the horse racing betting odds to be Champion Jockey in the UK. The likes of Frankie Dettori and Christophe Soumillon also attend the race when their schedules allow.

Horse racing at Sanlucar

One of the most unique events of the year in Spain, but also a meeting many horse racing fans and jockeys look forward to, is the Sanlucar horse race. It takes place on the beach in the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda in Andalusia.

The first edition of this race on the beach was run in 1845. It is now a huge event in the region, with the local tourist board declaring it of national and international interest. It is also part of the national series of races, with lucrative prize money for the main event and support action.

The Sanlucar horse racing features in August, but the exact date depends on the tide at the beach. Since 2016 it has had royal (Real) approval from the King.

Premio Villapadierna/Spanish Classics

Like most European countries, Spain holds a series of Classics for the three-year-old generation. They include the Premier Cimera (Spanish 2000 Guineas), Premio Valderas (Spanish 1000 Guineas), Premier Beamonte (Spanish Oaks), Premio Villapadierna (Spanish Derby) and Premio Villamejor (Spanish St Leger).

The Premio Villapadierna, for colts, is considered to be the most prestigious of the Spanish Classics. It takes place over 2,400 metres at the Hipodromo de la Zarzuela in Madrid. It is also the second leg of the Spanish Triple, with the first leg being the Premier Cimera and then the final leg, the Premio Villamejor. Those three races take place over different distances, so it’s a huge challenge for a horse to prevail in all three Classics.

In 2021 White Bay was successful for trainer Raul Ramos in what was the 60th renewal of the Derby Espanol.

With prize money increasing all the time in Spain, horse racing in the country is likely to continue to grow, with more prestigious races being added to the international calendar.

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