The Dublin Racing Festival has been and gone, and while a thrilling ride from start to finish, it’s only regarded as a taster of the racing calendar to come. For those who are part of the racing community, be it as a spectator or pundit, Springtime is when the racing calendar really begins. Enjoyed for more than its raw display of equestrian finesse, upcoming events are enjoyed for more than the traditions of the course — there’s also the summer weather, betting, and fine attire to savour. It all adds to the atmosphere of a day at the races.
In celebration and anticipation of the season to come, below are several of the main events that are held at various locations across the UK.
Cheltenham Festival, March 10th – 13th 2020
Despite being one of the earliest festivals of the National Hunt season, over 250,000 people will flock to Gloucestershire to watch the 28 races of this four-day event. The prestige of the event is legendary, with its prize money of over £4.5 billion being second only to that won at The Grand National. Seven races will be held on each of the four days, of which four are championship titles: The Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Each of these Grade 1 events are part of what makes the Cheltenham Festival such a spectacle to behold, and why the markets for the upcoming races are already thriving. Ones to watch this Festival are A Plus Tard, Altior, and Paisley Park.
The Grand National, April 2nd – 4th
Much like Cheltenham, The Grand National doesn’t need an introduction. Held annually, it is the UK’s most prominent horse racing event, with its origins dating back to the mid-1800s. It is seen as quintessentially British and is watched by millions of spectators every year. Although Grand National Day is held on the 4th, Liverpool’s Day and Ladies Day are equally worthy of mention, especially Ladies Day which has become a fashion statement all of its own. Even though the luxury of the Aintree event is in the distance, markets already have several horses gunning for the position of favourite to win. Tiger Roll and Burrows Saint are just two of the 105 entries to the National this year.
Epsom Derby (the Investec Derby Festival), June 5th – 6th 2020
Unlike the above events, the Epsom Derby is a much shorter burst of racing action, and yet it’s no less thrilling. The June Festival will be the 241st of the Epsom event, held in Surrey at the Grade 1 Epsom Downs Racecourse. The history of this horse racing spectacle dates as far back as the 1600s, however, it’s fair to say that it didn’t come into its own until the late 1700s. Separated into Ladies Day and Derby Day, spectators look to this event for both elegant fashion and exceptional racing. Although there are several other races that make up the Epsom Festival, The Derby is the one every fan of the sport is focused on, with the market already beginning to place its bets on who could win the title this year. Out of all those listed so far, Pinatubo seems the most promising, chiefly because Godolphin owned horse has been credited as being the best European juvenile.
The Royal Ascot, June 16th – 20th 2020
Last on our list is The Royal Ascot, one of the most profitable of all the events mentioned so far, sporting a prize fund said to be worth £8 billion. It is one of the showstoppers of the season. Known for its fashion as much as its racing heritage, the five-day Festival has become synonymous with British summer and social extravagance. Opening its doors at 10:30am, the racing is held between 2:30pm and 5:35pm on each day, with the main events being that of the Ascot Gold Cup, and the Commonwealth Cup. At the moment, the markets have yet to call out their favourites, however, we doubt it will not be long before names start to enter the fray.
As you can see, the UK promises a Spring and Summer filled with exciting events, with Cheltenham being the first on an illustrious list. Once the winners of Cheltenham are named, we have no doubt that the markets for the remaining major events will start to fluctuate to give a more up to date and accurate preview of expected outcomes.