Oldest Horse Races in the UK that are Still Going


Horse racing is one of the most legendary sports around the UK and Ireland and it may date back to a time way earlier than you think. We all know the classics like the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup, but what are the oldest horse races that are still going?

Well luckily for you we’ve taken a look at the oldest races around the UK that are still going to this day, with some dating all the way back to the 1500s.

Kiplingcotes Derby – 1519

The Kiplingcotes Derby is widely renowned as the oldest horse race in the UK which is still going to this day. The race takes place in, you guessed it, Kiplingcotes. This race was inaugurated in 1519 meaning we’re now on the 504th edition of this race.

They’ve been using the same course since 1664 and as opposed to a traditional horse race, this is more of a chase across the flatlands of East Yorkshire and is four miles long. You can place a bet on this race but there’s only one bookmaker so no online bookmakers that use Trustly as a payment method. The sole bookie estimates their condition and pedigree and calculates the odds himself.

Carlisle Bell – 1599

Now back to our more traditional races, we’ve got the Carlisle Bell which was inaugurated in 1599 and is still going strong to this day. The race was won by Hollie Doyle last year on Mostawaa. 

The trophy is a pair of bells that are held in a secure case which only museum staff can handle if they are wearing gloves. The prize has been the same since 1599 and is handled with extreme care. It’s safe to say this race is legendary in Carlisle and will only continue to grow in pedigree as the years go on.

Doncaster Cup – 1766

The Doncaster Cup first began in 1766 and is still going strong to this day. The legendary Stradivarius has won this twice and despite it not being a Group One race, the staying contest still attracts a lot of the best stamina laden horses in the UK, even as a Group Two.

This race was originally called the Doncaster Gold Cup and is the longest standing race at Doncaster Racecourse by 10 years. This race is held annually on the third day of Doncaster’s four-day St Leger Festival which features some top quality racing across the whole festival

St. Leger Stakes – 1776

Sticking with Doncaster, up next we’ve got the St. Leger Stakes which came round 10 years after the Doncaster Cup. This time we’ve got a Group One race and it’s the longest of any other race of Britain’s five Classics, it’s also the last of the five to be run in the year. It’s also the last of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing which consists of the 2000 Guineas, The Epsom Derby and The St Leger Stakes, however, we haven’t seen a Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970 and the closest attempt in recent times as Camelot in 2012

A very respectable £786,000 is on offer as the purse for this race which is one of the biggest prizes in UK racing. For those interested in some high quality racing, you can see this race and the Doncaster Cup at the same festival at Doncaster Racecourse!

Epsom Oaks – 1779

Last in our top five is the Epsom Oaks which is the third of Brain’s five classic races during the flat season. The Epsom Oaks, more commonly known as The Oaks, started in 1779 and became one of the leading races for three-year-olds in no time. During the mid 1800s is when the five classics were formed and this is one of the most popular races in this group.

Though it’s one of the most prestigious races, its purse is not as big as the St. Leger Stakes with only £548,550 on offer. There are plenty of variations of this race with the Irish Oaks, the Preis der Diana, the Prix de Diane and the Oaks d’Italia all being based around Europe, elsewhere you have some other races in Japan and New Zealand like the AJC Oaks, New Zealand Oaks and the Yushun Himba.