The UK is home to some of the greatest horse races on earth. With easy access to the racing countries of France and Ireland, it is a perfect place for the best horses in Europe and further afield to meet. With events all year, many have long historical legacies. Below, we discuss the most prestigious horse races in the UK.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the jewel in the crown of the Cheltenham festival. Taking place every March over four days, elite horses, trainers, and jockeys are on site and ready to compete. In addition to this, thousands around the world watch on television and online.
This year’s race will be one of the most competitive in history. This will make the best Cheltenham 2023 bet a hard one to get right. Rachael Blackmore will be one to watch on A Plus Tard, currently at around 15/2. Hoping to win back-to-back after being the first female winner, she will be in hot contention with the favourite Galopin Des Champs ridden by Paul Townend.
Dating back to 1924, the race has a long history but is not the only important run out at the festival. Make sure you watch other races like the Champion Hurdle and Stayers Hurdle.
The Grand National
Ran at the Aintree racecourse in the northwest, the Grand National is one of the most exciting yet gruelling races on the calendar. Over four and a quarter miles, forty runners must take on thirty fences and cross the line first to gain, arguably, the greatest prize in British racing.
Once again, Rachael Blackmore is one to keep an eye on after being the first female winner. Yet she is not the only success story in the race, where literally anything can happen. In 2009 a 100/1 outsider named Mon Mome won, startling trainers, jockeys and bookmakers alike. There have also been horses like Tiger Roll who have even managed to win in back-to-back years. However, the race will always be tied to Red Rum. In the seventies, he won a treble in back-to-back years, a feat which has yet to be matched.
While the other races involve hurdles, where the horse must jump fences, the Derby is a flat race. This means horses need pure speed and stamina to prevail. This track is known to be tough on a horse due to its bend and camber, meaning only the best attempt to tackle it.
Ran since 1870, trainer Aiden O’Brien is the master of the course with eight wins under his belt. The race is worth £1.5 million, with £850,650 going to the winner. It is open to colts of three years and older.
Many more meetings in the UK have great prize pots and can catapult a horse to stardom. The King George VI Chase at Kempton and Gold Cup at Royal Ascot are just two others you may want to watch. However, for first-time viewers, the ones above cannot be missed.