Sanlucar Horse Races
Every year the beaches of Sanlucar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz come alive with the pounding of hooves as the famous horse races take over the coast.
Traditionally, the races take place the second and fourth weeks of August from Friday to Sunday. The schedule also depends on the tide times so they might come forward a week.
10th, 11th 12th August 2023
24th, 25th, 26th August 2023
(Confirmed by the Organisers)
This is a splendid event that attracts people from all over the country and, of course, from beyond Spanish borders as well. It officially dates back to the year 1845 when the the Sociedad de Carreras de Caballos de Sanlucar de Barrameda was formed. However, everyone knows that even before this organisation held its first official races, the event had been staged informally for years by locals who raced the horses used for transporting fish from local ports.
Some time after its beginnings, the Sociedad de Carreras de Caballos de Sanlucar de Barrameda handed this ever more prestigious event over to the town hall for management and it was then included in the town’s summer programme of municipally sponsored events. It became known as one of the most important “fiestas” in the region.
Then, in 1981, the Sociedad de Carreras de Caballos de Sanlucar reformed and took back the reigns of the annual races. According to reports, the event is now better organised than ever. What’s more, the Sanlucar Horse Races are now part of a national series of equine events that include Madrid, San Sebastian and Seville. In December 2016 the King conveyed the tile 'Real' (Royal) and the race organisers are now Real Sociedad de Carreras de Caballos de Sanlucar de Barrameda
The course is between 1.400m and 2.000m and the Sanlucar de Barrameda races attract thoroughbred mare horses three years old and upwards and riders from all over Europe. This is not surprising as the stakes are high with total prize monies of 160.000 in 2021. In 2017 it was 600.000 €. Per race winnings run from a few hundred to up to 13.600 €. About 80 horses and riders take part each year. The total event budget is 600.000 and it is free to attend. There is also a club members and invitation paddock and grandstand.
Obviously the best way is to stay in Sanlucar, however you will need to book you hotel well in advance.
It is equally possible to visit for the day / evening. The activity start about 18.00 hrs when the Guardia Civil move the people on the beach back from the waters edge. this is where the horses will race; from right to left as you look at the river. There are grandstands opposite the finishing line. There is a winners compound which requires special invitation however the event is free to attend. Arrive early as you may have to park your car some distance away. It is an exciting event held at a unique venue. The first race is usually about 18.30 hrs. There are about four races each evening until about 21.00 hrs. The visitor is in a great location, watching the races looking into the setting sun over the river Guadalquivir and Doñana natural park. 6:00 in the evening.