Horse Racing Festivals

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In our horse racing festivls guide we look at all the major racing festivals in the UK, Ireland and across the world.

Racegoers are always researching the major horse racing festivals and biggest horse racing events in May 2024.

With so many prestigious UK horse racing fixtures taking place throughout 2024 the ability to attend some of the famous festivals can become a reality.

The horse racing fixtures have been released for 2024 so you might want to check out the full fixture list:

Horse racing events happen from the winter months in heavy ground conditions to the sunshine and glamour of the flat season throughout the summer. There’s something for everyone at these iconic UK horse racing venues.

In our horse racing festival guide, we will run through all the biggest UK horse racing meetings of 2024.

Find out more about the main horse racing festivals:

Horse Racing Festivals

Dublin Racing Festival

The 2024 Dublin Racing Festival dates are from Saturday 4th February to Sunday 5th February 2024.

The Dublin Racing Festival 2024 is held at the Leopardstown Racecourse and features exciting races like Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle and Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup.

Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival held at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire is the highlight of the National Hunt year and the pinnacle of jumps racing, it is the biggest and best National Hunt jump racing festival in the year.

With 28 amazing races over four days, the Cheltenham Festival showcases the best racehorses have to offer in the National Hunt sphere.

The 2024 Cheltenham Festival dates are from Tuesday 14th to Friday 17th March 2024.

Here are some articles you might be interested in if looking to bet on the 2024 Cheltenham Festival event:

Check out the 2024 Cheltenham Festival video if you want to know more information about the National Hunt most talked about 4-day horse racing festival.

Each of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival races is a chance to be part of history and attending the horse racing festival is a great experience.

Grand National Festival

The Grand National Festival is a three-day horse racing event taking place from the 13th-15th of April with the most famous in history on the final day – The Grand National.

The Grand National meeting is also known as the Aintree Festival as it is held at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool.

With 40 runners the race is over one of the toughest UK horse racing courses and it is the race where the nation stops to have a bet.

Here are some articles you might be interested in if looking to bet on the 2024 Aintree Festival event:

The Aintree Festival racing is always top-class with the highlight of course being the Grand National on Saturday.

Christmas Festival

The Kempton Christmas Festival is a popular two-day National Hunt Horse Racing Festival on Boxing Day and the 27th of December 2024.

The popular horse racing events over the 2 days at the Kempton Winter Festival are:

Punchestown Festival

The annual Punchestown Irish National Hunt Festival is the last big meeting of the National Hunt season in Ireland that takes place from 25th April to Saturday 29th April.

The 2024 Punchestown Festival is held at the Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare, Ireland and is known as the home of Irish Jumps Racing.

Here are some articles you might be interested in if looking to bet on the 2024 Punchestown Festival event:

Guineas Festival

The Guineas Festival held at the Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk features the first two Flat Racing Classics of the season in the 1000 Guineas Race and 2000 Guineas Race.

The Guineas are regarded as two of the most prestigious UK horse racing fixtures and have been imitated all over the world.

The 2024 Guineas Festival dates are from Friday 5th May to Sunday 7th May 2024.

Both races set the tone for the Flat season and can be career-defining for horses, horse racing trainers, and horse racing jockeys.

Chester May Festival

The 2024 Chester May Festival dates are from Wednesday 10th May to Friday 12th May 2024.

The Chester May Festival 2024 is held at the Chester Racecourse in Cheshire and features exciting races like the Chester Vase, Huxley Stakes, Chester Cup, Cheshire Oaks and Ormonde Stakes.

York Dante Festival

The 2024 York Dante Festival dates are from Wednesday 17th May to Friday 19th May 2024.

The Dante Festival 2024 is held at the York Racecourse and features exciting races like the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, Dante Stakes and Yorkshire Cup.

Epsom Derby Festival

The Epsom Derby Festival held at the Epsom Racecourse in Surrey features two of the most sought after British Classics in The Derby and The Oaks.

The 2024 Epsom Derby Festival dates are from Friday 2nd June to Saturday 3rd June 2024.

The Oaks only open to three-year-old fillies is run over 1 mile 4 furlongs and 10 yards on the undulating Epsom Downs racecourse has prize money of £500,000.

The Derby is Britain’s richest race and is often regarded as the best Flat race in the world.

The Derby only open to three-year-old colts is run over 1 mile 4 furlongs and 10 yards on the undulating Epsom Downs racecourse and has prize money of £1,500,000.

Royal Ascot Festival

The 2024 Royal Ascot Festival dates are from Tuesday 20th June to Saturday 24th June 2024.

The 2024 Royal Ascot Festival is held at the Ascot Racecourse in Surrey and features the Prince of Wales Stakes race and Diamond Jubilee Stakes race which both have 1 million in prize money for the winner.

Royal Ascot is the showcase event of the Flat season known for the glitz and glamour, it’s one of the UK horse racing fixtures like no other.

The world-class action is on show in Royal Ascot races such as the Queen Anne Stakes, Commonwealth Cup, and Gold Cup.

Royal Ascot is attended every day by The Queen and a Royal winner is always popular with horse racing fans.

Here are some articles you might be interested in if looking to bet on the 2024 Royal Ascot Festival event:

Eclipse Summer Festival

The 2024 Eclipse Summer Festival dates are from Saturday 7th July to Sunday 8th July 2024.

The Eclipse Summer Festival 2024 is held at the Sandown Racecourse in Surrey and features exciting races like the Eclipse Stakes worth 750k in prize money.

Newmarket July Festival

The 2024 Newmarket July Festival dates are from Thursday 13th July to Saturday 15th July 2024.

The first day of the July Festival is Ladies Day at Newmarket Racecourse and is the hottest ticket of the summer, with visitors travelling from far and wide to enjoy the thrilling racing, epic entertainment and of course fabulous fashion.

The King George Weekend

The 2024 King George Weekend dates are from Friday 28th July to Saturday 29th July 2024.

King George weekend is headlined by King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes with prize money of 1.25 million.

It is Britain’s most prestigious open-age Flat race.

Glorious Goodwood

The 2024 Glorious Goodwood Festival dates are from Tuesday 1st August to Saturday 5th August 2024.

With 5 days of thrilling horse racing action set against the magnificent backdrop of the rolling Sussex countryside, Qatar Goodwood Festival – popularly known as ‘Glorious Goodwood’ – is one of the highlights of the flat racing season. As you would imagine it is held at Goodwood racecourse.

Ebor Festival

The 2024 Ebor Festival dates are from Wednesday 23rd August to Saturday 26th August 2024.

The 2024 Ebor Festival is held at the York Racecourse in Yorkshire and features the Juddmonte Stakes which has 1 million in prize money for the winner.

The historic four-day Ebor Festival event is one of the major UK horse racing meetings of the Flat season.

The 4 days of horse racing include some great races like the Yorkshire Oaks, the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes and many other famous races like the Ebor Handicap.

St. Leger Festival

The 2024 St. Leger Festival dates are from Wednesday 14th September to Saturday 17th September 2024.

The St Leger Festival 2024 is held at the Doncaster Racecourse and features exciting races like world’s oldest classic horse race the St Leger.

Dubai Future Champions Festival

The 2024 Dubai Future Champions Festival dates are from Friday 13th October to Saturday 14th October 2024.

The highlight of The Newmarket Gold Season, the Dubai Future Champions Festival, provides two days of top-class horse racing, as the sport looks to unearth potential stars for the following campaign.

The quality of action on the Rowley Mile Newmarket Racecourse across the two days is nothing short of breathtaking, with seven Group races run on Friday and Saturday.

British Champions Day

The 2024 QIPCO British Champions Day date is 21st October 2024.

The QIPCO British Champions Day 2024 is held at the Ascot Racecourse and features exciting races like the QIPCO Champion Stakes worth 1.3 million in prize money.

Ascot British Champions Day is the finale to the UK Flat season and is the richest race day in the UK and the action both on and off the track never fails to disappoint.

With four Group Ones up for grabs, it really is the perfect finale.

Popular Questions

What are the best horse racing festivals for jump racing?

The best jump horse racing festivals are:

  • Cheltenham Jump Racing Festival
  • Punchestown Jump Racing Festival
  • Aintree Jump Racing Festival
  • Dublin Jump Racing Festival

What are the best horse racing festivals for flat racing?

The best flat horse racing festivals are:

  • Guineas Flat Racing Festival
  • Royal Ascot Flat Racing Festival
  • Derby Flat Racing Festival

What are the summer horse racing festivals?

Here are all the UK summer horse racing festivals:

  • Eclipse Summer Festival
  • Newmarket July Festival
  • Glorious Goodwood Festival
  • Ebor Summer Festival
  • St Leger Festival

What are the irish horse racing festivals?

Here are all the Irish horse racing festivals:

  • Dublin Racing Festival
  • Punchestown Festival
  • Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival
  • Irish Derby Festival
  • Galway Festival

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.

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 2024 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.

Summary of the Main Horse Racing Festivals

Great Britain holds some of the most famous and prestigious Racing Festivals in the world, annually attracting the best horses from around the globe in both Flat and Jump racing competing in major horse races. In our guide we have looked at major horse racing festivals cross the UK and Globe, so you can find out more about the races, atmosphere, tips and more.

All the major horse racing events 2024 have ante-post betting markets available for the big races. Check out our superb horse racing calendar to find a race meeting  near you.

From winter to summer horse racing festivals we provide the full list of UK and Irish horse racing festivals in 2024.