Christmas has been and gone and we’re now in dreary January, where unfortunately the festive feeling has long worn off, the weather is miserable and a consequence there is less racing on the schedule.
But don’t fear! Before you know it, the 2019 UK horse racing calendar will be well and truly underway. To whet the appetite, let’s look ahead to the best horse racing events to look forward to this year:
The Cheltenham Festival
First up is of course Cheltenham in March, which is always a key date in the UK racing calendar, but this year there is even more reason why you should be have an eye on the event.
2019 will be a particularly noteworthy year for the Gloucestershire racecourse as last September it was reunited with its original Gold Cup trophy, which had been in private ownership since 1971. Almost a century old, it will now replace the existing Gold Cup that has been used since 1972 and will be presented to the winner of the steeplechase event once again from this year onwards.
Presenting Percy is the current Gold Cup favourite, available now at prices of around 5/1 across Cheltenham free bets sites. Aside from the action on the track however, Cheltenham also brings the best of the horse racing world’s festivities, with Guinness tents, champagne bars and live music to boot.
The Grand National
Cheltenham might be the UK’s biggest annual horse racing event, but April’s Grand National at Aintree is racing’s most famous date and appeals to the masses as well as your keen racegoers.
And the Saturday of course provides arguably the most prestigious jump race in Europe, with the four-mile, thirty-fence handicap steeplechase that captures the attention of the British public like nothing else.
2018’s winner Tiger Roll is tipped by many to win again this year, but let’s be honest the race is something of a lottery. Nevertheless, you can get odds of around 20/1 on the favourite this far out on sites like Betway and Coral.
The Irish Guineas
The Irish Guineas meet takes place at The Curragh Racecourse in Kildare as expected on the first weekend in May. The home of The Irish 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, it is traditionally one of the jewels in the racing calendar, but this year there is another reason to pay close attention the event.
It’s been well documented that racing in Ireland is about to be subjected to a significant broadcasting change, with TV rights switching from Sky channel At The Races to the Racing UK Channel, a decision that has not pleased everybody however with some concerned about how it will affect the exposure of Irish racecourses.
But there is no doubt that attention will still reign on Ireland’s most prestigious flat racecourse for The Guineas, which will be great for exposure regardless of the TV Channel. On the track, the early favourite for the 2,000 Guineas is Too Darn Hot, currently available at a best-priced 6/4. Just Wonderful is fancied for the Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas at a current best offer of 10/1.
The Epsom Derby Meeting
Epson Downs Racecourse in Surrey brings the Epsom Derby meeting on the first weekend of June, comprising one of flat-racing’s Classics in ‘The Derby’, which takes place on the Saturday.
The iconic name of the race has inspired many other famous horse races around the world, including the Kentucky Derby in the United States. Just as with the 2,000 Guineas, Too Darn Hart is expected to turn up the heat here as the 9/2 favourite to win with bookies Ladbrokes.
Coming later in June will of course be Royal Ascot, European racing’s largest flat festival attracting horses from around the world and held at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, a race festival will an authentic royal flavour like nothing else.