The Best Horse Racing Events

Horse racing is loved all around the world from the Kentucky Derby in the United States to the Melbourne Cup in Australia and everywhere in between. Horse betting in the US and the UK is a huge industry and it continues to grow, particularly in the US.

But which are the best and most exciting horse racing events in the UK? Read on to find out…

The Scottish Grand National

Held in April every year the Scottish Grand National at Ayr Racecourse is one of the most looked forward to events in the British racing calendar. This Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase was first held in 1867 and has been well attended ever since.

Whilst the purse for this race is slightly lower than its English counterpart it doesn’t make the action any less entertaining. Held as it is, around the same time as The Grand National to the south of the border, the Scottish Grand National is always guaranteed to attract big crowds and get pulses racing.

(There were emotional scenes at the Scottish Grand National last year with Kitty’s Light giving Christian Williams victory.)

The Grand National

William Lynn founded this race all the way back in 1829 but it wasn’t until 7 years later that the first official race was held with ‘The Duke’ riding to victory. In modern times it is a three-day event held in the first weekend of April at Aintree Racecourse.

The main race is 4 miles and 514 yards long with 16 fences, 14 of which are traversed twice and for this reason is considered to be the toughest race in Britain. The most famous horse to have ever trotted to victory at Aintree is Red Rum who won the main race on three separate occasions in 1973, 1974 and 1977.

Corach Rambler and Derek Fox were the winners in 2023, but Minella Times stole the headlines in 2021 as the horse was the first to be ridden by a female rider – Rachael Blackmore – to victory at Aintree.

The Epsom Derby

The British horse racing calendar is full of so many iconic events that we’re starting to worry we won’t be able to fit them in! One that we nearly forgot is the iconic Epsom Derby held in the first week of June at Epsom Downs in Surrey.

In terms of history this is the oldest race we’ve covered so far, first being inaugurated in 1780. Nowadays the Group 1 flat race is known by many as ‘the greatest flat race in the world’! Whilst that may be a questionable assertion, it can’t be argued that the Epsom Derby isn’t a superb and scintillating event.

The £1.2 million purse goes some way to increasing the drama and stakes too!

(The Epsom Derby isn’t just famous for horse racing, it’s also famous for one of the bravest protests of all-time by Suffragette Emily Davison.)

Royal Ascot

Now we’re talking about history! Founded in 1711 by Queen Anne when she visited the area and declared that it would be the ideal location to race horses. In the 300 plus years since then Royal Ascot has become a permanent feature in the British horse racing calendar.

In modern times the event is held over five days every June and features flat racing tracks. The Gold Cup is the most prestigious and famous of races to be held at Ascot and is regularly watched on by a royal contingent of spectators.

Cheltenham Festival

Held every March the Cheltenham Festival is arguably the most prestigious and famous of all horse racing events in the United Kingdom. Widely acknowledged as the location where legends are born, Cheltenham hosts 28 races over 4 action packed days.

The festival captures the imagination of the public like no other horse racing event with over 260,000 spectators descending on the racecourse over the four days each year. Perhaps the main draw for the public is the unpredictability of the festival with several left-field winners emerging seemingly every year.

The most famous of which was Norton’s Coin who took the crown in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1990 despite starting the race as a rank 100/1 outsider.

(Relive the madness of Norton’s Coin winning the Gold Cup in 1990.)


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