Horse Racing Events

Our teams have searched high and low to both list and review, the biggest most prestigious racing events in the UK & 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 the Grand National) or you are planning a racing break or holiday somewhere further afield, then our UK racecourse guides, Irish racecourse guides and event guides below will give you all the info that you need to make your trip a success.

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!

Here are 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 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 from The Grand National to The Cheltenham Gold Cup, King George to The Derby, The Oaks to The Guineas Festival, 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.

Racing Events

Flat Horse Racing Events in the UK & Ireland

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.

There are 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.

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 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 festivals in the UK calendar are:

National Hunt Racing in the UK

Throughout the winter months, the flat takes a break (apart from all-weather racing) and jumps or national hunt racing takes place and takes centre stage.

Whilst flat racing is often referred to as The Sport of Kings, jumps racing is called The Sport of Farmers, down to its connection with rural communities.

Jumps racing is hugely popular, mainly because many of the horses return year after year and they become favourites. Often National Hunt horses have much longer careers and therefore build up more a following – check out our Hennessey Gold Cup winners to see some great examples.

National hunt racing mainly happens in the winter and spring months, from Oct to Apr, although there are some popular summer jumping fixtures, these are a relatively new addition. Cheltenham is the home of the national hunt racing, whilst other major racecourses which hold meetings include Aintree, Newbury, Wetherby and Sandown.

What Are The Best National Hunt and Jumps Meeting?

There are so many great races and fixtures to choose from but our favourite national hunt races which take place throughout the year are:

  1. The Cheltenham Gold Cup
  2. The King George at Kempton Park
  3. The Grand National
  4. The Champion Hurdle
  5. Queen Mother Champion Chase
  6. The Welsh Grand National
  7. The Stayers Hurdle
  8. Bet365 Gold Cup
  9. The Arkle
  10. The Ladbrokes Trophy

All-Weather Racing in the UK & Ireland

All-weather racing in the UK has really taken off in recent years and takes places all year around.

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.

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 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.

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

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
  • Breeders Cup
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Pegasus World Cup
  • Epsom Derby
  • 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 ones are probably the below:

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

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

What are the 5 Classic Horse Races?

The British races classics are:

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

Many horses have tried to win these races as part of the UK triple crowd.

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

  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 Grand 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.
  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.
  7. How to Find the Best Horse Racing Account? All betting sites have something to offer 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? 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.

Betting on Horse Race Events

From our research, here is a list of the best betting sites, all of which have great offers for new customers:

Summary of Racing Meetings and 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.