Tuesday 30th January 2018
Horse racing is one of the most glamourous sports to watch and even more so to attend. The beautiful racecourses filled with beautiful spectators and amazing animals have given us some superb memories over the years and have created a sport that is associated with great days out. There are some race meetings that have become bywords for class and sophistication, Ascot, in particular, conjures images of the upper classes often before it does horses.
2018 is set to be a great year for racing with a number of interesting and exciting opportunities for people to see the best riders and horses in the world going head to head while soaking up the rarefied atmosphere of a race course. It is rare to go to a meeting and leave disappointed, although if you manage to mess up your bets then it can be a little disheartening, but away from the bookmakers a day at the races matches up to any other sporting experience.
There are however, some events that are particularly special, which are really worth making the effort to attend and ticking off your sporting bucket list. These events are deeply associated with the sport and are almost bigger than the sport itself. They are not niche small events that will have thin crowds and only be attended by enthusiasts. They will be festivals for excess, racing and fun. Here then are the three best horse racing meets to attend in 2018 if you want a memorable experience.
Arguably most famous for The Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious prizes in all of horse racing, the Cheltenham festival is held every March in Gloucestershire and has the second biggest prize pool in British horse racing. It is an event on every racing fans calendar and is usually at the same time as Saint Patrick’s Day making one of the race days particularly boisterous. It usually runs from a Tuesday to Friday giving you plenty of opportunities to attend and making sure that there you will always be able to see an exciting race.
The Gold Cup is always on the last day as one of the premier events but that doesn’t mean that if you go another day you won’t get to see high class and high level competition. For the days you aren’t present there is also cheltenham live streaming so you can see every race from the comfort of your home. It is a special and extremely British event that is unmissable. Like Wimbledon or The British Grand Prix, Cheltenham festival is a special occasion.
An event that dates all the way back to 1711, Ascot is one of the most famous sporting events in the whole world. The royal in its name signifies the fact it was created by Queen Anne and is attended every year by Queen Elizabeth II. This is reflected in the refined nature of the festival which has a number of long-standing traditions that make it feel like you are going back in time to a more simple and respectful age. It is usually held in June and has over 300,000 visitors which shows just how special and wonderful it is.
The prize money in 2016 was over £6 million which shows the quality of the racing. While people might talk as much about the clothes as the racing, that does not mean that the racing is not of a high quality and if you do attend to see top class horses going head to head then you will not be disappointed. It also has a number of premier events including The Commonwealth Cup and its very own Gold Cup.
The Grand National
Technically a single race rather than a full meeting but still absolutely worth making the effort to attend. The Grand National is a race watched by millions of people across the world and is something that captivates most British people, even those with no interest at all in horse racing. It is estimated that 500 million people around the world to tune in and watch showing just how special an event it is. It is contested at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool so is easy to get to and the winner gets over half a million pounds. It is an event that, if you attend, you will never forget.