The United Kingdom hosts some of the best horseracing in the world and we have a calendar that is literally bulging with the best festivals and meetings going.

Let’s take a look at some of the events you can expect to see in a typical horse racing year on these shores:


Cheltenham Festival (March)

The home of The Gold Cup with four days of atmosphere, anticipation and action, all played out in the beautiful Prestbury Park amphitheatre.

Features each day include the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Stayers’ Hurdle, culminating on the Friday with the big one- The Gold Cup.


Grand National (April)

The greatest steeplechase in the world, attracting over nine million TV viewers and the one race a year many people may only ever have a bet on the horse racing betting.

Over 150,000 visitors descend on the course over the three-day fixture to see horses tackling the famous Grand National fences.


Scottish Grand National (April)

The two-day Scottish Grand National meeting is Scotland's richest jumps meeting, with the Saturday highlight being the Scottish National.

Ayr welcomes crowds of around 20,000 for some of the most hotly contested jumps action north of the border.


All Weather Championships (Good Friday)

900 Flat races, in six different categories, running from October to Good Friday take place at Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton racecourses and culminate in a £1million series finale at Kempton.


Sandown Jumps Finale (April)

The Gold Cup meeting over two days at Sandown Park brings the curtain down on the NH season with the last big race of it taking place on the Saturday. The leading NH jockey and trainer are crowned that day too.


Guineas Festival (May)

Both trainers and jockeys compete for the first two Classics of the British Flat racing season on this particular weekend at Newmarket.

The 2,000 Guineas takes place on Saturday, with the top colts doing battle on the Rowley Mile course.

Sunday is the turn of the fillies in the 1,000 Guineas, run over the same straight mile.

Chester May Festival (May)

This meeting stages some of the most important Classic trials – the Dee Stakes, the Chester Vase for colts and the Cheshire Oaks for fillies. Derby winners galore have come from this festival.

The famous staying handicap, the Chester Cup takes place over two and a quarter miles around the Roodee.


York Dante Meeting (May)

The main attraction of the three-day Knavesmire meeting is the Dante Stakes.

Winners of this and the Musidora Stakes tend to be among the favourites for their respective Classics.


Lockinge Stakes Day (May)

The main feature of Newbury's Flat season is the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, run over 1 mile and forming part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The Lockinge is the first Group 1 contest of the season run over a mile for four -year -olds and older.


Temple Stakes Day (May)

Haydock’s Temple Stakes is the opening sprint event of the British Champions series and sees some of the fastest sprinters around arrive on Merseyside.

The podium finishers in this commonly go on to take part in the King’s Stand Stakes in June.


Investec Derby Festival (June)

The Derby at Epsom is one of racing’s greatest spectacles and probably the most coveted flat race in the world.

The occasion attracts a large crowd of more than 100,000 people with much revelry taking place including fairground attractions, live music and open-top bus parties.

Before the Derby there is the Oaks – the fillies’ equivalent on the Friday of the meeting.


Royal Ascot (June)

This fixture needs no introduction; it is the jewel in the crown of the English Flat summer season and another UK meeting that reaches a global audience.

15 Group races and around £3.5 million in prize-money make it the most unrivalled five-day horse racing meeting on the planet.

The meeting is attended daily by members of the British Royal family, a tradition stretching back to the early 1700’s.


Coral-Eclipse Day (July)

The 1m2f Eclipse is the first top-level contest over a middle distance for three-year-olds to take on their elders.

Specialist ten-furlong runners, one milers and confirmed stayers all take each other on in this contest.


King George Weekend (July)

The feature race of the weekend is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. It stands alongside the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as one of Europe’s all-aged middle-distance championship races.

The 1975 renewal was dubbed “The Race of The Century”.

Glorious Goodwood (July/August)

This is Goodwood’s showpiece five-day meeting and one of the highlights of the racing year.

The races are spread across the full range of distances and include two Group 1 races - the Sussex Stakes and Nassau Stakes.


York Ebor Festival (August)

York always attracts all the top horses for this packed three-day programme.

The feature races are the Juddmonte Stakes, the Nunthorpe Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks.


St Leger Festival (September)

The Doncaster St Leger is the fifth and final British Classic of the year and it brings together the best of each sex.

Run over a distance of 1m 6f and 132 yards, it requires plenty of stamina and resolve to take first place.


British Champions Day (October)

Champions Day is the climax of the European Flat racing season and the British Champions Series.

Over £3m in prize money is spread across the end-of-season championship races for Ten-furlong horses: The Champion Stakes; Milers: The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes; Sprinters: six furlongs; Long-distance horses: two miles; and Fillies and mares: one mile and four furlongs.


King George Christmas Festival (December)

The King George VI Chase is one of the most iconic races in the Jumps calendar and Boxing Day actually feels like Christmas Day to most die-hard Jumps fans.

Run over a flat three miles at Kempton Park, the King George and has an illustrious roll of honour including the likes of Desert Orchid and Kauto Star.


Welsh Grand National (December)

Run over the Christmas holiday period, this 3m5f handicap chase is often one of the most exciting Jumps races of the season.

The Welsh National fixture is Chepstow’s most valuable race day and some of the most popular staying chasers in training return year after year.

The meeting has been known to inspire youngsters on how to become a professional jockey after James Bowen won the race aged just 16-years old aboard Raz De Maree in 2017.


*Credit for the main photo belongs to Tom Hevezi / AP Photo*

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.