Racing fans are in for a treat as equine superstars strut their stuff

Horse racing fans worldwide have plenty to look forward to during the second half of 2024, with the upcoming schedule packed with top-class meetings.

There will be plenty of focus on Sandown Park in early July as Epsom Derby winner City Of Troy lines up in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt bounced back from his disappointing run in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket with a power-packed performance.

O’Brien believes the step back to ten furlongs will not be a problem, and a victory at Sandown would open up a host of possibilities for the horse later in the season.

The relentless summer action continues apace after Sandown, with Newmarket and Ascot scheduled to stage major meetings in July.

Glorious Goodwood takes centre stage at the end of the month and the start of August, while the Ebor Festival at York will keep northern racing fans enthralled a few weeks later.

Kentucky Derby runner-up Sierra Leone will be one to watch when he lines up in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse on August 24.

The race has been touted as a potential target for City Of Troy, although it would be surprising if the Coolmore breeding operation pitched two of their top horses against each other.

Doncaster Racecourse will take centre stage in September when it stages the St Leger Stakes. Dating back to 1776, the race is the world’s oldest classic.

The Cambridgeshire Meeting at Newmarket is the highlight towards the end of the month, while the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp headlines proceedings in early October.

British Champions Day at Ascot on October 19 is a fitting culmination to the top-class flat racing action in the UK, with the meeting generally attracting a sell-out crowd.

Over £3 million in prize money is on offer across the final races in each of the five British Champions Series categories, making it one of the most lucrative race days in the world.

Attention switches overseas at the start of November as the 2024 Breeders’ Cup World Championships are staged at Del Mar Racecourse in San Diego.

If everything goes to plan over the preceding months, City Of Troy could attempt to hand O’Brien his first-ever victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

All eyes will be on Australia a few days later as Flemington Racecourse stages the Melbourne Cup – an event commonly known as ‘the race that stops the nation’.

A talented horse sold for an eye-watering AU$1.155 million at the 2023 Newmarket autumn sale could emerge as a strong contender for the big race.

Balance Play was purchased by McKeever Bloodstock, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott after winning three of his six starts as a three-year-old in England.

Connections identified the Melbourne Cup as a potential target for the horse after completing the purchase, and it would be no surprise to see him run well if he makes the line-up.

National Hunt racing returns to the spotlight over the final few weeks of year, starting with the prestigious November Meeting at Cheltenham in the middle of the month.

Jump racing fans also have loads to look forward to over the festive period, with Kempton Park and Leopardstown staging top-class meeting.

The King George VI is the highlight at Kempton, with the roll of honour for the three-mile race containing some of the best staying chasers to ever grace the sport.

They include Arkle, Best Mate, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star, all of whom also made their mark in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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