The toughest stayers horseraces in the world

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Long distance races are known to test thoroughbred racehorses and their riders to the limit. Here’s a look at the world’s toughest long distance races.

The Grand National

The Grand National is easily the toughest stayer’s race in the world. Not only do horses have to cover a marathon distance of 4 miles 4 furlongs, but the contestants have to jump 30 challenging obstacles on their way to the finishing post. To make it even tougher horses run the race under handicaps. Needless to say its almost unheard of for the entire field to finish the race.

The Prix du Cadran

France hosts Europe’s longest flat race for thoroughbreds, with the Prix Cadran run over a distance of 2 miles 4 furlongs over Longchamps Racecourse. The Group 1 race is considered to be the French equivalent of the Ascot Gold Cup, and has a history stretching back to 1837.

The Ascot Gold Cup

The Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, the signature event of the annual Royal Ascot Meeting, is the longest flat race in the UK. Run over 2 miles 3 furlongs and 210 yards, it is the ultimate test of the staying power of top quality thoroughbred racehorses in the UK. In fact the race is almost half a mile longer than its nearest competitor, the Goodwood Cup.

The Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is just shy of 2 miles, but is nevertheless considered one of the toughest propositions for top quality staying thoroughbreds. In fact it’s not unusual for horses who have won over greater distances in the UK to come well short of expectations in the Melbourne Cup. This is thanks to the pressure cooker atmosphere at Flemington Park and the weight-for-age handicap that cuts into the staying prowess usually exhibited by older thoroughbreds.

The Belmont Stakes

Speaking of pressure, few races can match the intensity of the Belmont Stakes, the final race in the United States Triple Crown. The race is run over a distance of 1 mile 4 furlongs, the longest distance run in a Grade 1 stakes race in the United States. Horses competing in the race will often have competed in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the weeks prior to the Belmont Stakes, which turns this into an energy-sapping ordeal unlike any other.