Horse racing fans are in for a treat during 2021, with the international calendar packed with some high-class events throughout the year.
National Hunt racing dominates proceedings during the early months, with the prestigious Cheltenham Festival the undoubted highlight in March.
Read on as we take a look at some of the best meetings and provide some early pointers for horses that will be worth watching and following.
The Festival is the standout meeting of the National Hunt scene in the United Kingdom.
There are a host of top-class races to look forward to, with the Gold Cup on the final day perhaps the most eagerly awaited event of the season.
However, one of the best bets of the week will run in the Grade 1 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day.
Dubai World Cup
The Dubai World Cup has grown massively in stature over the past few years, and the 2021 edition is sure to be fiercely contested affair.
The 10-furlong race always attracts a high-class line-up, with the leading owners in the world eager to grab a share of the huge prize money on offer.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Benbatl has been installed as the early favourite for the race, while Tiz the Law and Mucho Gusto are also prominent in the market.
While it would be foolish to write off any of their chances, don’t be surprised if the Godolphin operation has a dark horse up its sleeves for a race it loves to win.
Royal Ascot is the highlight of the flat racing season in the UK, attracting around 300,000 racegoers to the Berkshire track.
With an estimated 650 million people also watching the action on television across the world, this five-day meeting has become a truly global event.
Picking a winner at this early stage is no easy task, but Aidan O’Brien’s Santiago looks well worth an interest in the Gold Cup.
The Authorized colt is exactly the type of horse that O’Brien excels with and he can stop Stradivarius from winning the race for the fourth successive year.
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are the culmination of the international racing calendar, with the two-day meeting attracting top-class horses from across the globe.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, Tarnawa, could be back to defend her crown at Del Mar after trainer Dermot Weld confirmed that the filly would remain in training as a five-year-old.
The daughter of Shamardal rattled off four straight wins last term, culminating with an impressive victory over Magical in the Turf.
Tarnawa could also be aimed at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October, but a second tilt at the Turf is likely to prove too tempting to resist.