Compared to most sports, fans of horse racing are somewhat spoiled for choice here in the UK. There are a total of 60 British racecourses allowing those with an interest in National Hunt and Flat Racing (or both!) to enjoy top class racing action all over the country and all year around. I’ve had many an exciting day at the course most local to my location, Great Yarmouth, and I’m sure that most other racing fans will echo that sentiment about their local racecourse.
There are of course some racecourses that see more of the action, and have been host to many more famous racing moments than others. Ascot for one and of course Cheltenham, home to the Cheltenham Festival, is a racecourse that has seen many a memorable moment in the sport. Aintree racecource though is surely number one on most lists of courses and indeed races to attend though, on account that it hosts the world famous Aintee Grand National, run over 4 miles 514 yards and 30 jumps.
This much anticipated event sees Grand National betting offers, tips, news and views come to the fore. The Grand National is one of the most watched sporting events on the planet, with UK TV audiences approaching nine million, and worldwide figures of some 600 million viewers. For context the US centric Superbowl typically draws around 120 million viewers, as does the UEFA Champions League Final. Only the World Cup final audience, at around 900 million viewers, eclipses the event. On course attendance over the three days can reach 150,000. Many horses, jockeys and trainers have made a name for themselves off the back of their Grand National success. Red Rum and co ascended to racing royalty as result of winning this big money event first held in 1939 (with a prize pot of £3.2 million for the Festival and £1million for the main event in 2018).
The 2019 Grand National race will take place on Saturday 6th April on Grand National Day. The Grand National festival itself spans from 4th – 6th of April. Early tips for horses in the running for the 2019 title include Grand National 2018 winner Tiger Roll and last year’s runner up Pleasant Company.
The other main UK racing festival that many class as unmissable is the four day Cheltenham Festival, held in March of each year at the Cheltenham racecourse in Gloucestershire. On course attendance reaches a staggering 250,000+ over the course of the four days, with the first race commencing with a ‘Cheltenham Roar’ from the attending masses, an unforgotable on course experience. With group one events like the Champion Hurdle on day one, Queen Mother Champion Chase on day two and Stayers Hurdle on day three, racing fans are captivated throughout. Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup is the main event, with prize money approaching £600,000. Much like the reputation of the Grand National, winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a legend maker, as we can see with two time winner Kauto Star and three time winner Best Mate.