Major Racing Events to Watch Out for in the UK

Horse Racing is considered as one of the largest and well-established spectator sports in the UK. With over 60 racecourses around the country, races are held on a daily basis. Furthermore, there are major events scheduled throughout the year. The stakes are high and there is a chance of winning big during these huge meetings.

Of course, for seasoned punters, these major events are already on their radar. However, if you are new to horse racing or if you want to level up your betting experience, marking them on your calendar is a must. Detailed below are some of the major horseracing events in the UK and their respective months and locations.

Clarence House Chase (Victor Chandler Chase)
Where: Ascot
When: Mid-January
This Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase race is open to horses aged 5 years and older and is run over a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong with 13 fences to be jumped. Since the inauguration race up until 2017, this event was sponsored by Victor Chandler – thus also known by many as Victor Chandler Chase. However, starting 2014 it was reverted to its original name as sponsorship was changed. The Clarence House Chase is often used by trainers and horse owners as a trial in preparation for the Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Festival
Where: Cheltenham
When: March
The Cheltenham Festival is a major meeting in the National Hunt calendar in the UK. This festival is second only to the Grand National in terms of race purses. It features 4 Grade 1 races namely Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, World Hurdle (Stayer’s Hurdle), and Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is held over four days wherein top horse from Britain and Ireland battle it out for huge prizes and prestige. Huge amounts of money are gambled during the festival making it an important event to watch out for.

Grand National
Where: Aintree
When: April
The Grand National is the pinnacle of steeplechase racing in the country. It was founded during 1829 and has been running since then without signs of losing its popularity. This is race involves an enormous distance of 4 miles and 4 furlongs with 30 fences to be jumped – making it the ultimate test for horses and jockeys. It is the most valuable jump race in the UK and even in the whole Europe. It is a prominent event for the Brits as it attracts many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing. This year’s race was won by Tiger Roll, with jockey Davy Russell and under trainer Gordon Elliot.

Guineas Meeting
Where: Newmarket
When: May
At the beginning of May each year, two of the five Classics of the flat racing series in the UK takes place in Newmarket – namely the 1,000 and the 2,000 Guineas Stakes. The former is a mile race for 3 year old fillies while the latter is open for both fillies and colts. The 2,000 Guineas Stakes is also part of the so called “Triple Crown” (along with the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger meeting).

Epsom Derby
Where: Epsom Downs
When: June
The Derby stakes is the richest horse race event in the UK and the most popular of the five Classics. It is officially named the Investec Derby (Investec being the main sponsor) but widely known to many as “the Derby”. It is a run over a distance of one mile four furlongs and six yards at Epsom Downs Racecourse located in Surrey. It is among the greatest national sporting event in Great Britain and attracts worldwide attention. The winner for this year’s Derby was Masar, ridden by William Buick.

King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Where: Ascot
When: July
This event was formed as a result of combining two famous races held at Ascot. Originally, the King George VI race was being held in October while the Queen Elizabeth race is staged in July. The newly formed event is scheduled to take place each year in July and involves a race over a distance of one mile and 4 furlongs. It is open to horses aged 3 years or older. It is one of the most prestigious open-age flat races in Britain.

St. Leger Stakes
Where: Doncaster
When: September
This event is the oldest of the five Classics being established in 1776 and it is the last to be run each year. The race is over a distance of one mile, 6 furlongs and 115 yards – also the longest distance among the five Classics. St Leger is the final leg of the English Triple Crown.

Image: Carine06 (CC BY-SA 2.0)