| Two Biggest National Hunt
Events Are Around the Corner
|Horse racing is one of
the most bet on sports in the UK. Head to any high street bookmaker, and
youll almost always find at least one screen airing horse racing from
Its no surprise that Brits love their horse racing.
After all, the Queen and many other members of the Royal Family are widely
known to be lovers of both horses and horse racing, and frequently attend Royal
Ascot. The love of horse racing spans all generations of Brits and transcends
the old class structures.
Going to the races is an opportunity to
dress up that other sporting events dont offer, and theres a level
of glitz and glam that you dont find elsewhere.
Some of the most
attended horse racing events are part of the National Hunt calendar, with races
held across the country including in Exeter, Hereford, and Bangor. While all
are fantastic events, the two biggest and most popular are the Cheltenham
Festival and the Grand National, both of which are just around the
The Cheltenham Festival first took place in 1861 as part
of the National Hunt Chase, although it wasnt given its current name
It is a race that all the top trainers of jump horses want
to enter, and is the focus of race fans for the months leading up to it. The
feature race on day 1 is the Unibet Champion Hurdle, which is the most
prestigious prize in hurdle racing.
It takes place every year in
March, and usually coincides with St Patrick's Day, making it popular among
horse racing fans that also want to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. The
Festival runs over four days, with the final day featuring the headline Gold
The Cheltenham Festival is unique in that it uses two
different circuits over its four day programme. The first two use the old
course, and the final two use the new
270,000 people pass through the gates each year,
enjoying the 28 races over the four days. These races are made up over a mix of
different categories, including chase and hurdle events for both novices and
With less than a month to go, the favourite
to win the Gold Cup is Al Boum Photo, although there is plenty of time for
odds to move. This is the biggest race of the four days, and contains the
largest purse, with a total of £625,000 being awarded to the
For fans that cant make it in person, the 2020
Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday 10th March and runs until Friday 13th
March, with coverage for most of the day aired on ITV 4.
|The Grand National
The biggest event of
them all in Britain is the Grand National. It is about as close as the UK gets
to the traffic stopping Melbourne Cup. While horse racing is popular among its
fans throughout the year, the Grand National captures the imagination and
attention of the entire general public.
The races slogan
the world is watching is fitting, as the Grand National is one of
the biggest horse races in the world, with as many as 600 million watching
across the globe.
The Grand National takes place on the third and final
day of the Grand National Festival, which in 2020 begins on Thursday 2nd April,
running until Saturday 4th April. The second day of the festival is the
traditional Ladies Day, where women will go all out to have the
The Grand National race itself will feature up to 40
horses, making it one of the biggest races in the world in terms of the number
As well as the traditional wagering that takes place at
betting shops, at the track, and through online bookmakers, the Grand National
is famous for its sweepstakes betting that is run informally up and down the
Friendship groups and workplaces across the United
Kingdom will be downloading from the internet, or cutting out from newspapers,
a sweepstakes kit that contains the list of all 40 horses that will be entered
into the race.Each person that enters pays a nominal amount of money to pick
out a horse at random. In smaller groups, people may have to pick several so
that all 40 are chosen. Then the money is pooled and the people that picked the
top few horses are awarded the money. This is usually split like
take away from the traditional betting though, with many people choosing to do
both. In 2013, the amount bet on the race totalled more than £150 million. Just 7 years later, it is
expected to exceed more than £300 million.
- 1st place receives 60%
- 2nd place receives 25%
- 3rd place receives 10%
- 4th place receives 5%
National has shaped some of Britains most famous race horses, including the 2008
winner Comply or Die, the 1990 winner Mr Frisk, and the legendary Red
Red Rums 1973 win is remembered as one of the best Grand
National Wins of all time, after he closed a gap of 30 lengths to cross the
finish line first.
Like the Cheltenham Festival, live coverage
will be broadcast on ITV, with coverage also available through the ITV website
and player app so you can watch it on the go.
Plenty More on the Calendar
two major events may be over before Spring has passed, theres still
plenty of horse racing action to look forward to throughout the rest of the
The most upmarket event of the year, Royal Ascot, will take place between 16th and 20th June.
Before then, the Boodles May Festival will take place on the kidney shaped
course in Chester from Tuesday 5th May to Thursday 7th May. The Goodwood
Festival takes place from 28th July to 1st August. This event is often referred
to as Glorious Goodwood, thanks to its beautiful surroundings and
late August summer weather.
What is certain is that now winter is
almost over, there'll be plenty of horse racing action to keep fans excited and
entertained throughout the year.