The UK hosts some of the biggest horse races in the world and each year, these races generate millions of pounds worth of revenue. Horse owners around the world look to race their top horses at these prestigious events with a view to cashing in on lucrative prize money, while at the same time write their own piece of horse racing history. Meanwhile, casual and serious punters alike take a chance on winning some serious money via gambling and betting.
The Grand National
Perhaps the most renowned horse race in the UK is the coveted ‘Grand National’. Held at Aintree every April, this race is often the only horse race that non horse race enthusiasts take time to bet on and indeed watch. In 2019 alone it is estimated that this race was watched by 600 million people across the globe! The race itself is one of the longest races in Europe, with an official distance of just over four miles. Horses competing in the race have to navigate two laps and jump thirty fences before a gruelling home strait on a slight incline all in an attempt to win £1 million.
Another early spring race, or more accurately races, are the Cheltenham races. Held in mid-March, these races take place in the leafy county of Gloucestershire, England, over a period of four days. Combined, the Cheltenham races offer a prize fund of just over £4.5 million, which makes them ever popular with both horse owners and UK gamblers. The Cheltenham festival often coincide with St. Patrick’s day which tends to make them a focal point for Irish horse breeders, owners and jockeys and Irish punters who wish to have the odd flutter or two.
As the spring moves into summer, the UK hosts another big horse race in the Epsom Derby. This two-day event, held at the Epsom Downs in Surrey, England, is one of the oldest horse races having started in 1780. The Epsom Derby itself is a mile long flat race and is seen as one of the most lucrative flat races in the world with an estimated prize fund of just over Â£1.5 million. There is even a £5000 prize for the best dressed female who attends the Epsom Derby on ‘Ladies Day’.
The most prestigious of the big UK horse races has to be the many races that take place at Royal Ascot. Royal Ascot combines high fashion, high society and British Royalty with the world’s best horses and a record prize fund of £6.5 million. The multiple group one races that take place at this elite event guarantees a lucrative stream of gambling and betting revenue.
Each day bears witness to a Royal Procession which almost always involves Her Majesty The Queen who is famed for her love of horses and horse racing, and with that the attendance of many celebrities, sportsmen and women and a whole host of famous people. One of the most elite races is the ‘King’s Stand Stakes’ which is held on the opening day of Royal Ascot and showcases some of the best racehorses aged three years and up to a capacity crowd, most of whom have been gambling and betting on their preferred winner.