Flat Horse Racing Events

Our teams have searched high and low to both list and review, the biggest most prestigious flat racing events in the UK, Ireland & the Rest of the World.

So, if you’re a keen racing fan and are looking to plan a trip to experience the best that British horse racing has to offer (anything from Royal Ascot to Glorious Goodwood) or you are planning a racing break or holiday somewhere further afield, then our UK racecourse guides, Irish racecourse guides and race overview event guides will give you all the info that you need to make your trip a success.

Our guides cover all the horse racing events including all the major horse racing festivals to exact dates for ladies’ day meetings in 2023.

Sit back, relax and find out more about the top horse events in Britain, Ireland and the Rest of The World. We hope you enjoy it!

Find out more about the best horse racing events:

What’s In Our Racing Event Guides?

Our guides provide with all the information that you’ll need about these top racing meets and events – whether you are attending the race, betting or just want more information – we loot at everything including the history, previous winners, top trainers and jockeys, stats, outfits and more.

You can check out the individual reviews by simply following the links, our experienced horse teams have looked at all the major events – including national hunt racing such as The Grand National to The Cheltenham Gold Cup and King George – to the main flat races of The Derby and The Oaks to The Guineas Festival and St Leger and more.

As well as these top British races we have also checked out the top international horse races such as the Durban July Handicap, Dubai World Cup, Breeders Cup and Melbourne Cup – basically any major horse race that you can think of!

Our website also features comprehensive racecourse guides for racing in the UK, with guides ranging from Catterick to Haydock Park, Sandown Park to Cheltenham, Fakenham to Fontwell and beyond. In these we look at the top races, the fixtures and bespoke calendar, travel info and even the weather.

No stone has been left unturned by our top teams at British Racecourses, who explore all the top races and fixtures, as well as small and large racecourses.

UK Flat Racing

The UK flat season starts at Doncaster in March with the Lincoln and the British season ends there in early November – in between that the UK boasts an impressive packed racing calendar with racing in every part of the country, from Brighton in the South, Great Yarmouth in East, Exeter in the West and Ayr in Scotland – you are never far from a top British racecourse.

Check out our comprehensive guide on the Flat Season Horse Racing Events.

There is a range of highlights throughout the racing year, from the well-known classics to the Royal Ascot, the May Festival at Chester to Glorious Goodwood, The Ebor to Ascot Champions Day and many, many more in between.

The flat horse racing events in Britain are broadly broken down into the following types of horse races:

It is also fair to say that all racecourses offer great days racing and have their own personal highlights, away from those directly in the spotlight of the media, so be sure to check these out. There are some hidden gems out there.

All of the racecourses in the UK are welcoming and friendly, so if you are looking for a fantastic summer day out with friends and family there is sure to be a fixture to suit you.

What are the Best UK Flat Racing Fixtures?

Our teams have identified the following as the major UK horse races within a season – although it was tough to narrow it down, these are probably what would be considered the best flat racing fixtures:

  1. The Derby
  2. The Oaks
  3. The 1000 and 2000 Guineas
  4. The Eclipse
  5. The Arc
  6. The Leger
  7. The Ascot Gold Cup
  8. Haydock Park Sprint Cup
  9. The Racing Post Trophy now known as the Futurity Stakes
  10. The Lockinge

Whilst our favourite flat racing festivals in the UK calendar are:

Royal Ascot is undoubtedly the highest quality festival of flat racing anywhere in the world. With five consecutive days of first-class racing, it is also one of the biggest social sporting events of the year. Each of the big festival meetings in Britain has its own distinct flavour, from the glitz and glamour of Royal Ascot to the Panama hats of Glorious Goodwood and the family-friendly atmosphere of the July meeting at Newmarket.

There is a modern trend to label any meeting a festival and not all of them live up to the hype. The Newmarket Guineas meeting and the Epsom Derby meeting are really all about the Classic races but the York Ebor Festival is certainly worthy of the name.

Ireland’s Galway Summer Festival offers a unique mixture of flat and jump racing over a full 7 days and what it may lack in quality it makes up for in quantity, main races including the Galway Mile, Galway Plate and the Ahonoora.

Irish Flat Racing

The flat horse racing events are some of the most competitive flat races in the world with some of the biggest horse racing trainers like Aidan O’Brien based there.

The flat horse racing events in Ireland include:

Check out the Full Irish Horse Racing Fixtures 2023 in Ireland’s calendar season.

All-Weather Racing in the UK & Ireland

All-weather racing in the UK has really taken off in recent years and takes place all year around over different distances.

Typically it has all been a rather low-quality affair but with the introduction of the All-weather championships, improved racing surfaces and more race tracks around the UK, that perspective is shifting.

It is now used by top and leading trainers including John Gosden, Sir Michael Stoute and William Haggas, and there are also trails for major international events, such as the Dubai World Cup and Breeders Cup.

Tracks in the UK include Kempton, Lingfield, Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Southwell, whilst Ireland has one – Dundalk. Another is set to be built in Ireland in 2023.

Standard Horse Race Fixtures

A standard yearly racing calendar is normally released a year in advance, this helps trainers plan campaigns for their horses.

However, racing is not solely about the biggest racing events of the year with Group and listed races, with racing happening on most days throughout the year – apart from Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Eve – apart from that schedule you will normally find racing action.

The main events tend to be held on weekends but you’ll find competitive and more informal meetings early in the week at great little courses such as Bangor on Dee, Bath, Cartmel, Ffos Las, Ludlow and Newton Abbott. Often you can catch a star of the future at these smaller tracks, with trainers warming up and educating their horses for bigger tests later in the season.

What Are The Major UK Racing Festivals?

The UK racing calendar is packed with highlights and top picks happening every few weeks but as touched on, the major ones are below (this includes flat races, jump racing and national hunt flat races):

  • The Cheltenham Festival – jumps racing
  • Royal Ascot – flat racing
  • The Grand National – jumps racing
  • Glorious Goodwood – flat racing
  • Newmarket Guineas Stakes Festival – flat racing
  • Epsom Derby and Oaks – flat racing
  • King George Boxing Day meeting – jumps racing

Anti-post betting for these commences months in advance, so if you have a fancy it is always worth betting early, you can often get best odds guaranteed so it’s definitely worth looking at if you have an early tip.

What are the Major International Racing Festivals?

The biggest world racing fixtures in the World are:

  • The Dubai World Cup – Group 1
  • Breeders Cup – Group 1
  • Kentucky Derby – Group 1
  • Pegasus World Cup – Group 1
  • Epsom Derby – Group 1
  • The Grand National

As these races and festivals attract huge attention from avid racing fans as well as those with a more passive interest in the sport.

What Are The 4 Major Horse Races in British Racing?

If not picking out “The Classics”, per se, the major horse races are probably the below:

  • The Grand National
  • The Derby
  • The Cheltenham Gold Cup
  • The Champion Hurdle

We have included a mix of flat races and jumps races.

This is based on popularity, intrigue, past great races and sense of anticipation that generally build throughout the year.

What is the Biggest Horse Racing Event?

A difficult question, but the biggest and most-watched is definitely The Grand National held at Aintree, it attracts a huge global market.

However, in terms of flat racing the only other race to rival it is probably the Melbourne Cup held in Australia. After that, it’s probably the Epsom Derby and Dubai World Cup, all of which offer something unique and appealing.

What are the 5 Classic Horse Flat Races?

The British races classics are:

  • 1000 Guineas
  • 2000 Guineas
  • The Oaks
  • The Derby
  • The St Leger

Many horses have tried to win these flat races as part of the UK triple crowd. These are all Group 1 races and the most prestigious flat races.

What is Our Favourite Racecourse?

A very difficult question as we like many and each British racecourse has its own charm. Haydock will always be close in our hearts as it’s our local track. Galway racecourse will always be special as we have enjoyed personal success therewith our own racehorses, other favourites include Cheltenham, Newbury, Chester and York.

What are Our Favourite Race Meetings?

Haydock Park is our local track so we always love going to the meeting there – whether the Peter Marsh Chase or Sprint Cup. Other favourites include Royal Ascot, King George on Boxing Day, The Grand National and the main one – The Cheltenham Festival.

Other Frequently Asked Questions about Flat Races

  1. Can you make money betting on racing? Whilst some people claim to be professional gamblers, that is something that we don’t advocate at British Racecourses. Our focus is on the fun aspect of the sport and whilst placing a bet is part of the overall experience of a day at the races, the aim shouldn’t be too make money.
  2. What is the biggest racing event in the world? I suppose it depends on what you mean by biggest. The most-watched is The National, the biggest prize money is typically the Dubai World Cup whilst the Royal Meeting at Ascot racecourse always has global attraction.
  3. How do you bet on horse racing online? You simply open an account, deposit money and go from there. Betting online is hugely popular and if you are looking for a site suitable for you we recommend checking out our best horse racing betting sites guide, so you find one which is suitable.
  4. What types of bet are there in racing? There are literally lots and lots of different options to choose from, we break these down in detail on our bet types page. Horses run over a variety of distances and courses, so there are lots of options.
  5. What Does NR in racing Mean? It means non-runner, so that horse is no longer going to be in the race.
  6. Can I bet on UK horse racing live? Yes with most online bookmakers you can bet whilst the race is taking place, you can also watch the action live with horse racing live streaming options with bookies such as William Hill, Ladbrokes and Bet365, and follow your horses progress.
  7. How to Find the Best Horse Racing Account? All betting sites have something to offer on races run but you should compare betting sites to make sure you are getting on that suits you; some people enjoy different features and each bookie offers something slightly different.
  8. What is the Best Betting App for Horse Racing/horses running? Again this boils down to personal choice with most online bookmakers offering both mobile responsive websites as well as racing apps. Check out our page on the best mobile betting apps, where we analyse the main ones in detail as well as our page on new betting sites.

Summary of Racing Meetings and Flat Events

The UK and Worldwide racing calendar is packed and varied from country to country, so wherever you find yourself you will be no doubt near a racecourse.

Our teams have reviewed the best ones, so if you are planning a visit to one of these brilliant sporting events or just wanting to find out more information about them, you’ll find useful facts and figures, history and more.