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Horse racing provides us with many memorable events throughout the year, but what are some of the highlights of the British Horse Racing Calendar you should be looking out for?

 

It’s challenging to pick out the most prestigious races, but here are some of the ones to look out for from both the jumps races and the flat races. Of course, there are many more great races throughout the year, but here are some of the highlights. 

The Biggest Jumps Races

The Grand National 

There was only likely to be one winner when it came to the most significant jumps race in the UK calendar. The Grand National UK isn’t just a big deal here in the UK, it’s considered the most significant jumps race in the world, and it attracts a vast audience. 

Cheltenham Gold Cup

The jewel in the Cheltenham festival’s crown, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is run on the last day of the festival and is a hugely prestigious race in its own right. 

Run over 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs and 22 fences; this race has hosted some of the biggest names in British horse racing history. 

King George VI Chase

Held on Boxing Day at Kempton, the King George VI Chase is a classic test of jumping and staying power, as some of the best horses battle it out over the 3-mile course.

One of the most prominent races on the schedule, some of the most famous horses in the world have performed particularly well here, with Desert Orchid winning the race four times, and Kauto Star an amazing five times. 

The Stayers’ Hurdle 

Another hugely popular event at the Cheltenham Festival is the Stayers’ Hurdle. This 3- mile event is a huge crowd drawer on the second last day of the festival, and it’s one every trainer wants to win. 

The Biggest Flat Races

Epsom Derby 

Where the Grand National is the big race over the hurdles, the Epsom Derby is arguable the biggest over the flat. The race, which has been running since 1780 forms part of the English Triple Crown and is seen as one of the most significant tests a horse can run on the flat. 

2,000 Guineas Stakes

Just as Cheltenham plays host to the epicentre of jumps racing, Newmarket is the same for the flat racing.  Its signature event is the 2,000 Guineas Stakes which is held in early May. 

The race, which started in 1809 is run over a mile, by 3-year-old horses, excluding geldings. It also forms part of the English Triple Crown. 

St Leger

Another race that dates back to the 1700s, the St Ledger was first run in 1776 and is also part of the Triple Crown. 

Run at Doncaster racecourse in September, and the St Leger pits the best horses in the country against each other over a 2.9-mile course. 

Ascot Gold Cup

Another important day on the sporting calendar is the Ascot Gold Cup, one of the longest races of the flat season, and a real test of any horse’s stamina.