Britain’s favourite horse racing events

Photo courtesy of Alan Green

British culture embodies everything about the sport of horse racing. As early as the 17th century, Brits have been taking part in horse racing festivities. Even the Royal family partake in the sport. Queen Anne opened Royal Ascot in 1711, a member of the Royal family has attended every year since.

Betting on horse racing is increasingly popular with many gambling companies sponsoring events. Heading down to the races to try and win a healthy cash sum is a common activity for many British folk. But, with the help of technological advancements, you can bet online too: www.paddypower.com/horse-racing.

Some horse racing events have grown to such fame, thousands of people travel to the racecourses each year, with millions more watching at home through TV or online streaming. Let’s take a look at some of Britain’s most popular events.

Royal Ascot

A few miles down the road from Windsor Castle is Ascot Racecourse. Every June, the flat course enjoys a five-day festival with many different group races and 30 races in total. The £3.5 million pot for prize money helps attract trainers, but it is the prestige of the event that attracts the crowd. 

Over 300,000 people flock to the southern course in their Sunday Best each year, one of whom is Her Majesty the Queen. A bet that circulates attention is the prediction of what colour the Queen will be wearing. Last year it was blue two days in a row, allowing the bookies to rake in the money.

Grand National

This particular steeplechase is one of the most popular horse races to gamble on. Reported as one of the most ultimate test for horse and jockey, the Grand National includes two laps of a four-mile racecourse and 30 jumps. Tens of thousands of people flock to Aintree to witness the occasion, including celebrities. But, there are millions more viewing the event at home.

For the 2020 Grand National, bookies are predicting a breath-taking £250 million to be bet on the event. In previous years, 25% of UK adults have bet on the National with 74% backing their horses each way. A little over 47% of gamblers will place their bet on a particular horse because of its name. 

Cheltenham Festival

Since 1860, the four-day event has been gathering crowds in their masses. The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most anticipated events of the year for bookies and horse racing fans alike. Every top chaser and hurdler will be looking to attend this meeting at the beginning of the season. 

Not only does the Tuesday Champion Hurdle event have the most sought-after prize money for two-mile hurdlers, the Gold Cup takes place on the Friday of the festival and is of the most highly-contested races in the jumps calendar.

The total prize money is second only to the Grand National and in 2018 it was £4,590,000. During the same year, over 200,000 people attended the event with the Gold Cup day being a sell-out. 


These three see huge audiences, with thousands more gambling and watching at home. The history, culture and atmospheres they bring are why they’re Britain’s favourite horse racing events every single year.

There are many more horse racing events in the sporting calendar. Including the St Leger Festival and the classic Guineas at Newmarket.