Held at Blatherskite Park in Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory, which is normally a dusty outback outpost with the feel of a pioneer town, every July the place explodes with belly dancing, bands, rickshaw rallies and, most importantly, camel races. The sport’s appeal lies in the beasts’ unpredictability and stubbornness. Camels snarl, gurn, bite and are known to spit for metres. At the start of a race they might move forwards, stay right where they are or even reverse. But, when they get going at full speed, jockeys have a serious job to stay aboard. This desert extravaganza offers all sorts of trophies in addition to the main Imparja prize, and when you add food stalls and families it all has the feeling of a county fair. The Afghanistan Cup is presented by the country’s ambassador to Australia, commemorating the Afghans who first brought camels to the outback in 1840.