Horse Racing in Great Britain holds a lot of tradition throughout a number of racecourses and festivals. The UK holds an astonishing 59 racecourses across England, Scotland and Wales.
There is a wide variety of races available to view and bet on, with both jump and flat racing equally accommodated.
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UK Races are generally run on two different types of race track. All-weather race tracks contain polytrack, enabling racing all year round regardless of the weather!
Meanwhile grass race tracks are also durable and used for both flat and jump racing. The weather can play a part in determining the going of grass race tracks, particularly in the UK where there is plenty of rain!
Throughout the UK Race calendar there is a mixture of flat and national hunt racing. National hunt racing is the label for British jump racing and largely exists throughout the winter months when the grass race tracks provide a softer, more forgiving ride for the horses. By contrast, the summer months normally entertain flat racing, with the harder, flatter surfaces allowing for effective sprint racing.
The two different categories of horse racing in Britain allows fans and bettors of horse racing an opportunity to enjoy both spectrums of professional racing, with both fields taken very seriously.
UK Races – National Hunt: Key Events
The Cheltenham Festival, based at Cheltenham Racecourse provides one of the pinnacles of British jump racing. The culmination of this particular meeting is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, regarded as the most esteemed Chase event in the entire world of horse racing. This race also attracts a vast number of viewers and bets, with millions of dollars waged over the course of this festival.
Aintree Festival is another jump meeting that attracts an incredible amount of betting and viewing interest. Most notably because of the English Grand National that acts as the showpiece race of the three-day festival. The English Grand National is one of the most archaic and romantic horse races in the world calendar and is such an enchanting race that the general public pause their working days to have a flutter!
There are a number of other horse races such as the Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals that also draw in great interest; such is the demand for National Hunt racing in the United Kingdom.
UK Races – Flat Racing: Key Events:
1,000 & 2,000 Guineas Stakes:
These two races are based at Newmarket Racecourse and are open to three-year-old thoroughbreds. These sprint races are two of the five ‘classics’ that are spread out across the UK flat racing schedule. The races now hold prize money totalling AU $820,000 each. This lucrative meeting signals the beginning of the British flat racing ‘classics’, held annually at the end of April.
Epsom Oaks & Epsom Derby:
The Epsom Oaks and Epsom Derby are two Grade 1 races that are regarded as Britain’s richest flat race. The Oaks is open to three-year-old fillies only, while the Derby attracts vast fields of both colts and fillies looking to grab a slice of the AU $2,500,000 prize funds. The Derby is a relatively long sprint race at 1 mile and 4 furlongs, providing inspiration for similar meetings around the world.
St. Leger Stakes:
Yet another challenging sprint race, ran over 1 mile and 6 furlongs. This glamorous race, held at Doncaster Racecourse, is another high stakes meeting, containing over AU $1,000,000 in prize money. A severe test for both horse and jockey, the victor of the St. Leger is often the sign of a developing horse with increasing potential.
UK Races: Handicap Races Explained
Across a number of British Racecourses handicap horse races are regularly on the bill of meetings. The conditions of these races are in order to create a fair race and heighten entertainment for the spectators and bettors. The stronger, more successful horses carry greater weight for the race to give the lesser horses an even opportunity. This creates opportunities for skilled bettors to spot handicapping misjudgements, such as a strong horse not weighted heavily enough – providing you with a nice profit!
UK Races: The Racecourses
- Fontwell Park
- Haydock Park
- Kempton Park
- Market Rasen
- Newton Abbot
UK Races: Finding the Winners
The beauty of British horse racing is that there is always something going on all year round. Be it National Hunt racing in the heavy, wet conditions of winter or the glamorous summer of flat racing, UK Races cater for all kinds of betting markets.
You can find all the information you need for each important race on the internet, making it even easier to spread your wings from the comfort of your own computer chair.
Many internet bookmakers now offer the facility to stream live UK races if you have a wager on the event. This brings the drama and tension of live horse racing into your own home, giving you a grandstand seat to view the action. What are you waiting for? Place your bets!