It’s not just football that draws in the masses in the UK. Horse racing is the second most popular sport for Brits, and thousands of people from across the globe attend the prestigious events every year.
One reason why horse racing is so popular is the unpredictability. Even those with the odds against them have the chance to take home the prize, which is usually millions of pounds, making it an incredibly intense and thrilling watch for spectators across the world.
In a tactful marketing ploy, horse race events have a Ladies Day to encourage more females to enjoy the races. So, whether it’s the champagne that flows, or the excuse to get dressed up to the nines, both men and women love a day at the races up and down the country.
But if you’re interested in seriously following the sport, or simply want to be able to hold your own in conversations with others, where do you even start with your research?
Well, to get you started, these are the biggest horse racing fixtures of the calendar year.
And they’re off!
Cheltenham Festival: Mid March
The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day event and one of the top horse meets of the entire season. Usually hosted in the Cotswolds, the first-prize jockey wins a huge £4 million.
The Grand National: Early April
This is perhaps the biggest, and most iconic horse race of the calendar year. Over 600 million Brits watch the races at home, while 65,000 people are lucky enough to be spectators at the event.
The main race is on the final day of the three-day event, with Ladies Day occurring the day before. Based in Liverpool, the Grand National is a great race to get involved in, with Unibet horse racing odds making it easier than ever to choose a horse to support. (Don’t get too drawn in by the jockey colors or funny horse names.)
Epsom Derby: Early June
Spectators at the Epsom Derby, also known as The Derby Stakes, can enjoy panoramic views of London as well as the race itself. Based at one of the most prestigious racing venues in England, every jockey wants the chance to race (and win) here.
Royal Ascot: Mid June
Another incredibly prestigious event for the horse racing season is Royal Ascot, known both for its races and fashion. This five-day event, where the finest racer wins £8 million, draws in audiences from across the world who want a taste of luxury.
The event brings in 300,000 spectators and combines beauty, color, and quintessentially British culture. Visitors can enjoy great hospitality and fine dining as well as an exciting race.
Once you’ve learnt all you can about these events, there are plenty more races to get involved in. Make sure to spend some time understanding the history of the horses and jockeys before placing bets; that said, even the best horses could lose! Maybe it is just better to go off which horse has the best name. Whether you opt for Man O’ War or Seabiscuit, there’s no knowing who’ll make it to the end.