The British horse racing calendar is about to take off in the coming weeks as the Cheltenham Festival gets under way in less than a fortnight, followed by the Grand National in April.
There are a number of prestigious racing fixtures throughout the United Kingdom and whilst the action is non-stop, some events are bigger than others. Here’s a look at the key races to follow in 2021:
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The four-day Cheltenham Festival kicks off on Tuesday 16 March, concluding on Friday, which includes the attraction of the week: The Gold Cup.
Al Boum Photo has won the biggest race at the Cheltenham Racecourse for each of the past two years and heads into this year’s event as the 11/4 favourite too with the online horse betting sites.
The prize money for this festival is second only to the Grand National.
The Grand National
Without doubt the biggest event on the British racing calendar takes place at Aintree Racecourse in April. The Grand National has been a fixture since all the way back in 1839 and is a handicap steeplechase over a distance of 4 miles and 2-and-a-half furlongs.
The Grand National is the most valuable jump race thought the UK and Europe with a prize fund over the £1 million mark.
Not only is this race popular among Brits, but also attracts viewers from outside of the country as well as viewers who don’t tend to bet or watch other horse racing events at other times of year.
Fast forward to the first weekend of June and the Epsom Derby is scheduled in Surrey. This event sees two of the British Classics up for grabs with The Derby itself having a £1.5 million prize packet.
Ran over 1 mile and 4 furlongs, jockey Frankie Dettori has helped make this event famous over the years with a record five victories.
Many consider The Derby to be the best flat race anywhere in the world.
Serpentine, ridden by Emmet McNamara, won last year’s race. In the process, Aidan O’Brien become the most successful Derby-winning trainer of all time.
The flat season continues between 15-19 June 2021 as the Royal Ascot takes place in Surrey.
The Prince of Wales Stakes and Diamond Jubilee Stakes are the two big races at this festival, with the prize money for each race at £1 million this year.
Lord North won the Prince of Wales last year and Hello Youmzain from France is the defending champion of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Taking place during the peak of summer at the end of July, Glorious Goodwood attends a number of visitors down to Sussex each year.
The five-day festival offers action like no other and is a staple on the UK racing calendar, and can be streamed online.
Action takes place over the 2 mile, 5 furlong course with a number of severe undulations and sharp turns.
Battaash won the King George at last year’s event, having headed into the race as the clear favourite at a starting price of 2/7 with the bookmakers.
Jack Timms is an independent writer with 8 years experience in writing sports articles for various magazines and newspapers. Most of his work is on horse racing or football, and he has written for magazines such as Thoroughbred Racing and Luxuria Lifestyle. Jack lives in York with his dog, Poppins.