Horse racing has long been one of the top sports to bet on, with major events throughout the year.
While the Grand National attracts casual punters who rarely have a flutter, fans of the sport of kings are perhaps more likely to be looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival every March.
When browsing for the best horse racing betting sites, BettingLounge.co.uk is a handy resource to use. But what are the top five horse racing events to bet on in 2023? Let’s take a look.
- Cheltenham Festival, March 14-17
With more than a dozen Grade One races being held over four days of thrilling action in the south-west of England, the Cheltenham Festival is the jewel in the crown for horse racing fans.
The key race is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which always takes place late on the event’s Friday afternoon and sees horses piloted around 22 testing courses. With the history of the Gold Cup able to be traced back over 200 years, it is a historic occasion and one that is not to be missed.
A Plus Tard was the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2022, with the horse being safely navigated around the famous course by Rachael Blackmore, who became the first female jockey to triumph in the race. A Plus Tard is trained by Henry De Bromhead, who also runs the stable from which the 2021 winner, Minella Indo, hails. Minella Indo was also second in 2022.
As well as the Gold Cup, top races taking place during the Cheltenham Festival include the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle. It is thought that horse racing fans place hundreds of millions of pounds worth of bets during the Festival.
- Royal Ascot, June 20-24
This year’s Royal Ascot promises to be a particularly special occasion as it will be the first time that the event has been held since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The late Queen was a known lover of horse racing and special tributes are likely to be paid through the event.
Royal Ascot is, by most measures, the most valuable race meeting in Britain with millions of pounds in prize money up for grabs over the course of the five days of racing.
The Gold Cup, which is staged over two-and-a-half miles, is the most important race to be held during Royal Ascot each year. Stradivarius wrote its name into the sport’s history books by winning the race three years in a row under Frankie Dettori from 2018 to 2020.
The most recent winner of the race was Kyprios, a horse trained by Aidan O’Brien, which has also won the Goodwood Cup, Irish St. Leger and Prix du Cadran.
- Grand National, April 15
Even those who have little interest in the sport of kings often tune in to watch the Grand National, which this year will have its 175th annual running at the Aintree course in Liverpool.
The handicap steeplechase takes place over an official distance of more than four miles, so it is a serious test of strength and stamina for both jockeys and horses.
There are two laps of the course with 30 fences to jump over, including the likes of Becher’s Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn, all of which have been the scene of dramatic thrills and spills over the years.
With a prize fund that tends to be in the region of £1 million, the Grand National is normally the most valuable jump race in Europe, though the large prize pot is surpassed by races elsewhere.
Red Rum’s trio of wins in 1973, 1974, 1977 helped to make the horse one of the most famous of all time, while Rachael Blackmore wrote her name into the history books as the first female jockey to win the race when she piloted Minella Times in 2021.
The 2022 Grand National was won by Noble Yeats, a 50/1 shot that was trained by Emmet Mullins and ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen, an amateur rider in his last race prior to retirement.
- Dubai World Cup, March 25
While the UK and Ireland are often seen by fans of the sport as being the traditional home of horse racing, other parts of the world have a passionate following too.
The Dubai World Cup has grown into one of the sport’s most important dates, mostly due to the fact it is often the world’s richest horse race.
Held at the Meydan Racecourse, the Dubai World Cup was won by Thunder Snow in both 2018 and 2019, with the horse’s owner Godolphin Racing celebrating nine wins in the race in total.
Frankie Dettori has the joint most wins in Dubai World Cup history. The jockey was on board the winning horse in 2000, 2003, 2006 and also the most recent event in 2022, when Country Grammer won to take home the $7,200,000 prize pot.
- Melbourne Cup, November 7
Wrapping up our list of the top horse racing events to bet on in 2023 is the Melbourne Cup. Run by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, the race for three-year-olds and older is held over a 3,200-metre course.
Lloyd Williams was the first owner to record five Melbourne Cup winners when his mount Almandin came home in first place in 2016, narrowly beating Heartbreak City. Williams has gone on to extend that record as he was also the owner of the 2017 and 2020 winners of the race too.
When Michelle Payne won the race on Prince of Penzance in 2015 she was the first female jockey to win it and that running of the Melbourne Cup was particularly notable as the horse won at odds of 100/1.
Makybe Diva won the Melbourne Cup three years in a row from 2003 to 2005 and is the most successful horse in the history of the race as a result.