Achieving the Triple Crown in horse racing is one of the rarest accomplishments across sport. It requires strength, stamina, luck and determination for a horse to win the three biggest races in its career.
There are some triple crowns that haven’t been won for generations, while others have produced some memorable champions in recent years.
On the occasion a horse does hone in on a Triple Crown, fans who enjoy racing betting can back them all the way to glory. However, if you’re new to horse racing betting then you might not know what the Triple Crown is.
Well, Paddy Power is here to break down the details of the Triple Crown. Not only do we have the best tipsters in the business, but we’re always looking out for punters. So here’s what you need to know about Triple Crowns in horse racing, and why there are different versions all over the world…
What is a Triple Crown?
A Triple Crown in horse racing refers to three races that combine into one achievement. Winning all three races in a single season means a horse has won the Triple Crown and usually goes down in history as a legend of the sport.
It isn’t too often that a Triple Crown winner emerges. West Australian was the first horse to win the English Triple Crown in 1853, while in Ireland you have to go back to 1942 for the last time a horse – Windsor Slipper – won the Irish Triple Crown.
Let’s now take a look at the most notable Triple Crowns in horse racing from around the world…
English Triple Crown
- 2000 Guineas Stakes, Newmarket
- The Derby, Epsom
- St Leger Stakes, Doncaster
The English Triple Crown has been in existence since 1809 but only a handful of horses have ever won the prestigious prize. Indeed, the last Triple Crown winner was Nijinsky in 1970, where jockey Lester Piggott rode the three-year-old to victory. Nijinsky was the first horse in 35 years to win the English Triple Crown and the feat hasn’t been repeated since.
However, a handful of horses have won two of the three Triple Crown races in one season. Cotherstone (1843) and Ladas (1894) both won the first two races, only to place second at the St Leger. In 2012 Camelot did the same thing, finishing behind Encke at Doncaster.
Irish Triple Crown
The Irish Triple Crown consists of the follow three races:
- Irish 2000 Guineas, the Curragh
- Irish Derby, the Curragh
- Irish St Leger, the Curragh
Only two horses – Museum in 1935 and Windsor Slipper in 1942 – have ever won the Irish Triple Crown, and horse racing betting fans don’t exactly fight to place their bets on the next winner of this elusive award.
Australian Triple Crown
Australia has a number of other horse racing ‘series’ that attract attention – but the Australian Triple Crown is still the one everyone wants to win. It comprises of:
- Randwick Guineas, Randwick
- Rosehill Guineas, Rosehill
- Australian Derby, Randwick
Remarkably, the last horse to win the Australian Triple Crown was only very recently. Dundeel stormed to victory in 2013, with Octagonal having been the previous winner in 1996. In total there have been just five Australian Triple Crown winners. Australia also has a two-year-old Triple Crown that was last won by Pierro in 2012.
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United States Triple Crown
Americans love their horse racing and the United States Triple Crown takes place on the traditional dirt tracks that populate the country. The three races involved in the US Triple Crown are:
- Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Kentucky
- Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Race Course, Maryland
- Belmont Stakes, Belmont Park, New York
The first remains one of the most popular races in the world, while global horse racing fans may not have heard much about the other two. All three races involve sprints between 1.9km and 2.4km and have hefty prize purses.
Sir Barton was the first American Triple Crown winner in 1919 and recently trainer Bob Baffert has enjoyed success, with American Pharaoh (2015) and Justify (2018) storming to victory. Iconic horse Secretariat won the United States Triple Crown in 1973. To date there have only been 13 winners.
French Triple Crown
The French Triple Crown consists of:
- French 2000 Guineas, Longchamp
- Prix du Jockey Club, Chantilly
- Grand Prix de Paris, Longchamp
If there is ever an indication that nailing a Triple Crown is hard work, it’s the list of winners of the French Triple Crown. There are only two horses to ever achieve the feat – and no one has managed it in over 120 years. Zut (1879) and Perth (1899) are the only two winners of this elusive gong.
New Zealand Triple Crown
The New Zealand Triple Crown consists of:
- Tarzino Trophy, Hawke’s Bay
- Horlicks Plate, Hawke’s Bay
- Livamol Spring Classic, Hawke’s Bay
Melody Belle is the only horse to ever win the New Zealand Triple Crown, charging to victory as she did back in 2019. A number of horses, including The Message (2000), Starcraft (2004), Princess Coup (2008) and Callsign Mav (2021) have won two of the three NZ Triple Crown races in a season. Melody Belle also claimed two of the three in 2018 and 2020.
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