No sport personifies Britain’s unique sporting heritage and history more than horse racing. Renowned as the sport of kings, horse racing has been a spectator sport in England since the Roman Emperor Hadrian erected a wall between Scotland and England, which probably meant that the poor Scots had to wait until the Romans had packed up and left before being able to enjoy the illustrious horse-racing spectacle.
Today’s British punters are fortunate since they have a year-long feast of equine festivals to attend with major races and meetings continually cropping up in the racing calendar. In no particular order of importance, the most popular courses are at York, Ascot, Aintree, Goodwood and of course Cheltenham. There are heaps of smaller tracks that attract large local crowds and are just as much part and parcel of the provincial social scene as Royal Ascot is for the metropolitan elite.
Broadly the Flat season takes place between the spring equinox and autumn equinox. The William Hill Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, first run in 1853, is the traditional curtain-raiser to the Flat season. Thereafter the Flat season really takes off with the five major Classics, which are: the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas Stakes staged at Newmarket; the Epsom Oaks and the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger Stakes, which is also run at Doncaster. Sandwiched in between the Classics are the major Flat festivals at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.
The National Hunt season, which is the name given to jump racing, tends to be concentrated between November and April. Just as Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood define high summer, the Cheltenham Festival and the three-day Grand National meeting stand at the pinnacle of a long winter’s jump season. While the Grand National race itself is the most internationally recognised British horse racing brand, Cheltenham’s four-day festival, and the world famous Gold Cup, outshines all others. For the sheer quality of the field and the buzz and enthusiasm of the crowd, there is nothing quite like Cheltenham anywhere in the world.
If you can’t attend this annual equestrian extravaganza in person then the next best thing is to follow it all on William Hill TV, which streams all Irish and UK race meetings live for a minimum stake of just £1! If you haven’t done so before, this is the best chance to enjoy the very best of British horse racing betting online – start now!