The UK horseracing flat season will shortly be coming to an end, with the jump season beginning again in November. We have already seen many highlights in the racing calendar including Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National, the Guineas, Royal Ascot and Goodwood Festival.
But what have racing fans got to look forward to for the rest of the calendar year? We will round-up all the major events worth keeping an eye on; and whether you’re interested in these, or any other races due to take place, be sure to follow horse racing betting with Betfair for all the latest odds and markets.
St Leger Festival:
Wednesday 11th – Saturday 14th September
Doncaster, Yorkshire (England)
The St Leger Festival is a four-day event and one of the most prestigious race weeks in the British calendar, owing to the fact it’s the oldest classic. The festival kicks off with ‘Legends Day’. The opening day sees former jockeys return and dust off their saddles to race again in the Leger Legends, a race for charity. In addition to this, there is a seven-race card that afternoon. Days two and three are referred to as ‘Ladies Day’ and ‘Gentlemen’s Day’, respectively; with the festival culminating in St Leger Day.
The St Leger is the fifth and final British Classic of the year, as well as the final leg of the English Triple Crown. The race is run on the final day of the festival, over a distance of 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 115 yards. It was inaugurated in 1776 and was most recently won by Kew Gardens.
Ayr Gold Cup Festival:
Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st September
Ayr, Ayrshire (Scotland)
The Ayr Gold Cup Festival is a three-day event and is often considered one of the most prestigious meetings in Scotland, not only popular with locals but racegoers from all over the globe. The highlight is of course the Ayr Gold Cup, which takes place on the third and final day of the festival.
The festival begins with Doonside cup Day, named after the afternoon’s feature race, although there’s a packed programme of six other races. Day two is Ladies Day, which features two Grade 1 races: the Harry Rosebery Stakes and the Arran Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes. But of course, it’s all about the final day, Gold Cup Saturday.
Last year’s Ayr Gold Cup made history with two horses winning in a dead-heat – as nothing could separate Son of Rest and Baron Bolt. The top 27 horses will race in the Gold Cup, with the next 27 contesting the Silver Cup (since 2000) and the following 27 taking part in the Bronze Cup (since 2007) – but all three are equally as competitive.
The November Meeting:
Friday 15th – Sunday 17th November
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (England)
The November Meeting (previously known as The Open) is traditionally considered the start of the winter jump season and has expanded to become a three-day meeting. With 19 races during the three days, it’s a great festival for jump racing fans to see their favourite horses emerge after the summer break.
The highlight of the meeting is the Gold Cup, which is held on the Saturday; while other races of note include the Handicap Chase and Greatwood Hurdle. The November Meeting is also a good indication of which horses to look out for the Cheltenham Festival in March. For example, the Gold Cup and its more prestigious race of the same name; or the Greatwood Hurdle and the Champions Hurdle.
Welsh Grand National:
Friday 27th December
Chepstow, Monmouthshire (Wales)
The Welsh Grand National has been held at Chepstow since 1949 (although it was previously held in Cardiff and Caerleon) and it’s become established as one of the major events in the National Hunt calendar. Winners of the Welsh Grand National usually go on to have success at Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National at Aintree – with last year’s winner being Elegant Escape.
During the day, there are a number of other races, including the Finale Juvenile Hurdle.