The World’s Biggest Horse Racing Markets

Horse Racing Markets

Japan, the USA, Hong Kong and Australia are among the top horse racing betting markets in the world. (Photo credit: Japan Racing Association).

We’re well into the racing season and have already seen many of the biggest events closer to home take place with the likes of Cheltenham and the Royal Ascot, with the latter even being able to welcome back a huge number of fans – whilst the UK races do tend to have the biggest draw, there are many other prestigious events that are now taking place elsewhere too as betting on racing is also changing particularly with newer legislation and laws in Oregon for example and other big US states, and countries around the world, but which are the biggest racing markets?


If you’re not in to racing or new to it, Japan likely wouldn’t be the first country that pops to your mind when you think of a country invested in racing. But in terms of value, it’s the largest horse racing market in the world, hosting more than 21,000 official races per  year and held formerly the richest turf race in the world too only recently overtook by The Everest in Sydney. Much of the surprise will come as gambling in Japan is illegal, but horse betting is one of the few events that have been given an exception, which has probably helped it become as huge as it is.


No surprises here for the USA also being one of the world’s biggest horse racing markets and second in terms of volume only coming behind Japan – it has some of the more prestigious races with the likes of the Kentucky Derby being certainly the most popular but hosting some big stakes like those at Belmont and other big events like the Breeders Cup, many more have been taking notice over the years. It’s also why many operators are starting to provide growing odds and tips for races in the country, and why some within the states are starting to offer more options too.


For racing fans in the UK this one won’t come as much as a surprise as some big names have managed to make their way down to Australia to compete every year but may be something new from fans of other regions, although only a quarter of the market value of racing in countries like Japan, Australia is certainly growing in this regard, and having the richest turf race in the world with the Everest race in Sydney with a purse of £11 million, it does a great job of attracting some bigger names too.

These markets and their influence on global horse racing is set to only continue growing too, so it may certainly be well worth checking them out and getting involved early on to reap the benefits later, particularly as some of these international events are starting to grab similar prestige to races at home too.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong racing will offer record prize money of HK$1.46 billion for the 2021/22 season with the four G1 features on LONGINES Hong Kong International Raceday offering a combined new high of HK$100 million. By elevating the LONGINES Hong Kong Cup’s prize money to HK$30 million, the Hong Kong Jockey Club will stage the world’s richest Group 1 races over 1200m, 1400m, 1600m and 2000m on turf.

The LONGINES Hong Kong Mile and the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint, which are already the most valuable Group 1 races over 1600m and 1200m on turf, will rise to HK$26 million and HK$24 million respectively.  The Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) is also the most endowed seven-furlong contest in the world on turf at HK$12 million.

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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