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Horse racing in the United Kingdom

UK racing
HORSE racing is considered one of the most distinguished sports in human civilization, and a lot of cultures have ties to equine racing as far back as ancient Greece.

It is believed horse racing in the United Kingdom first became official in 1750 after the Jockey Club established itself.

Britain has been hugely influential in horse racing across the world.


All modern thoroughbred horses across the globe can be traced back to the three foundation sires that were imported to Britain in the 17th and 18th century.

This article is looking at horse racing in the UK, the best courses and races in the world and the best places to wager cash on the gallops in the thoroughbred racing motherland.

Notable racetracks in the United Kingdom

Given the linage of just about every thoroughbred horse can be traced back to England there is no prizes for guessing they take their horse racing very seriously.

From sprint racing, endurance tests, hurdles and bumpers to cross-country races, UK racing as it all, and a number of tracks in England offer different types of racing to punters.

We compiled a list of the very best courses that the UK has to offer, a brief word on why they are beloved and a look at the biggest races each venue has to offer.

Ascot Racecourse

When punters think about racing in the UK the track that instantly comes to mind is Royal Ascot.

Ascot is home to nine of Britain’s 32 annual Group 1 races, and the course has close ties to the Royal family.

Ascot has far too many quality Group 1 races to list, but most notable races include the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup and the Ascot Chase.

Ascot is without question the most famous and hallowed track in the United Kingdom and arguably in the world.

Major Ascot Races: Ascot Gold Cup, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

Cheltenham Racecourse

Ascot may be one of the more recognisable racetracks internationally when people talk of UK racing, but Cheltenham festival is an incredibly special one.

The Chelenham festival – colloquially known as the ‘Greatest show on Turf’ – rivals Ascot in terms of popularity, and it has a number of Grade 1 races to match.

The thing that makes Cheltenham different from Ascot is the fact that it is a strictly jumps, hurdle and steeple chase course.

Cheltenham is home to some of the biggest jumps races in the world including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle.

Recently approved for a 45 million pound redevelopment, the course that draws hundreds of thousands of punters each year is set to become even bigger.

Major Cheltenham Races: Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle, the World Hurdle, Champion Bumper

Goodwood Racecourse

Punters may recognise Goodwood via the ‘Glorious Goodwood’ festival held every year, which is one of the showpiece events on the English horse racing calendar.

Goodwood racecourse – much like Ascot – is controlled by the Duke of Richmond and is home to two Group 1 races.

Goodwood is a unique course given the first section of the course is uphill while the remainder is downhill.

Major Goodwood Races: Nassau Stakes, Sussex Stakes

Aintree Racecourse

Set just outside the sports mad city of Liverpool, the Aintree racecourse is one of the tracks England that does not straight away trigger a response from punters, but it hosts one of the world’s most famous races – the Grand National.

The Grand National Hurdle a national institution in England and one of the world’s biggest races. It draws an annual worldwide audience of in excess of 600 million viewers.

Not only does Aintree host the Grand National, but the track hosts nine other Grade 1 races including the Aintree Hurdle and the Merseyside Novices’ Chase.

Major Aintree Races: Grand National Hurdle, Aintree Hurdle, Betfred Bowl

Newmarket Racecourse

The Newmarket racecourse is known as the headquarters of British racing, and the course itself can compete alongside any other venue the world over when it comes to prestige and history.

The beautiful venue has been in existence since the 1600s, and today hosts nine Group 1 races every year.
Not only does the venue host a plethora of big races, but the on course punters are catered for too given the Newmarket racecourse has the National Horse Racing Museum and the National Stud.

Major Newmarket Races: Champion Stakes, the Dewhurst Stakes, the July Cup

Sandown Racecourse

While Sandown Racecourse may not be the most prestigious racecourse in the UK, it is one of the more prolifically used tracks in England.

Sandown has racing almost every day, every week including weekends, but that does not mean the track does not have its fair share of big races.

The Eclipse Stakes is one of the best three-year-old and over races in the country and has seen some of the UKs finest ever horses grace the Sandown track.

Notable Sandown Races: Eclipse Stakes, Sandown Mile, Winter Novices’ hurdle

Best sites to Wager on United Kingdom horse races

It takes a blue-blooded English bookmaker to offer the best markets on the UK gallops, and the self-proclaimed ‘world’s favourite online sports betting’ agency Bet365 is one of the absolute best in the business.

Bet365 is one of the only bookmakers that offer live-betting on UK races to international customers, as well as a wide range of odds on all the big meets in England, Wales and Ireland.

Another big dog in the English bookmaking yard is William Hill, and the boys in blue are one of the best bookies in the world for the gallops.

Premium prices, money back specials and best prices including Starting Price puts William Hill amongst the upper echelons when it comes to bookmakers across the world.

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