It’s fair to say that not all horse races have been created equal, and we’re not just talking about the difference between flat and jump race meetings.

Make no mistake; each horse race (especially Grade I and Grade II events) pose their own unique challenges, and the vast majority of these can be attributed to the nature of the course on which they’re ran.

For punters, earning a decent flutter is now easier than ever before thanks to tools like free matched betting calculators and arbitrage software, but it’s not so easy for the runners and riders.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the three hardest and most challenging horse racing tracks in the world, whilst asking what makes them so difficult to tame for runners and riders alike.

  1. Aintree, Liverpool in the UK

We start with the UK’s most famous and iconic racecourse, which just also happens to be one of the most challenging anywhere in the world.

This world-renowned track first opened back in 1829, and it has seen too many legendary races to count during its incredible 190-year history. This number includes various iterations of The Grand National, which is the nation’s favourite race and is now synonymous with the energy-sapping Aintree course, although Tiger Roll makes it seem easy.

But what exactly makes the course so demanding? The simple answer is the sheer volume of difficult jumps, including iconic obstacles such as Becher’s Brook, The Chair and Canal Turn. These combine to create the world’s most challenging steeplechase race, and one which only the best runners will prevail in.

This has been borne out during a number of infamous races, including the 1928 iteration when only 42 horses started but only two completed the course.

2. Flemington, Melbourne in Australia

Next up is the renowned Flemington course, which is based in Melbourne, Australia and home to the richest two-mile handicap race in the world (namely the Melbourne Cup). 

Next to the stunning Maribyrnong River in Melbourne, this pear-shaped behemoth of a racetrack boasts a number of challenging features that test even the most seasoned and well-trained of runners.

These include a six-furlong straight called the ‘Straight Six’, which demands incredible endurance from each runner and requires riders to hold their nerve in front of around 120,000 fans.

3. Tokyo Racecourse, Fuchu in Japan

We close with the Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, Japan, which was opened in 1933 and is home to numerous races including the Japan Cup and the iconic Japanese Derby.

Known colloquially as ‘The Racecourse of Racecourses’, this venue is home to one of the largest video screens in the world and can hold a staggering 223,000 fans at full capacity.

Not only this, but the course boasts five different but equally challenging track options, including five alternative grass surfaces. There’s a dirt track and a jump course, and combined these courses host a staggering eight different Grade I stake races every single year.

Whilst the venue lacks the fame or repute of its rivals, it’s a truly superb racecourse and well worth its place on this list.