A Great Day Out
The Racing Year
Diaries at the ready – here are the seasonal must-do events for horseracing fans in 2013...
Watched by over 10 million in the U.K. alone, the Aintree Grand National Meeting in early-April, includes the running on the biggest race of the year. A must-not-miss event for any horse racing lover, the Grand National is an incomparable handicap providing excitement like no other as the field run down towards the first of 30 fences.
With the biggest Jumps meetings of the year only days behind us, Flat racing comes back with a bang as Newmarket hosts the QIPCO Guineas Meeting and the first two 'Classics' of the season in early-April. While the top colts battle it out to be crowned the QIPCO 2000 Guineas champion on Saturday 4th May, it's is all about the females the following day as the leading three-year-old fillies contest the QIPCO 1000 Guineas.
As the temperatures hot up, so does the racing, and on the first weekend of June over 100,000 people flock to Epsom for one of racings greatest spectacles and perhaps the most coveted prize in the sport, the Investec Derby. Alongside this world-renowned contest, the Investec Oaks, the fillies equivalent, is also run on the opening day of the meeting.
Top-class racing continues in June with the most prestigious meeting of the year, Royal Ascot. The pinnacle of the summer social season, the meeting comprises several Group One races, including the Ascot Gold Cup on Ladies Day, overseen by Her Majesty the Queen following her arrival in her horse-drawn landaus.
At the end of July racing moves to the picturesque Sussex down for Glorious Goodwood. Two group one races, the Sussex and the Nassau Stakes, provide the highlights of this chic and relaxed meeting.
With the summer winding down, interest shifts north to York and the Ebor Festival at the end of August. The race in which Frankel was victorious in 2012, the Juddmonte international, provides the main attraction of the meeting.
As the leaves begin to change colour, the racing world turns its attention to Doncaster in September and the final Classic of the season, the Ladbrokes St Leger. This historic race over a mile and three quarters and open to both colts and fillies promises one of the greatest tests of the season.
As the flat season begins to draw to a close, Future Champions Day at Newmarket provides a series of clues for the following year's Classics as the leading juveniles tackle the many group races on offer throughout the day.
October 2013 will bring the third staging of the spectacular QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot, a fitting end to the European flat racing season. A day that has produced nothing short of fantastic racing since its inception, the meeting boasts the best horses from the season long QIPCO British Champions Series, culminating in the two Group One races, the QICPO Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
With Flat racing in the shadows the Open Meeting at Cheltenham in November firmly puts jump racing back in the forefront of the mind. The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the feature race of the weekend and for many is the race that really sees the new season get into top gear.
A feast of top-class Jumps racing is always guaranteed at Newbury as part of their Winter Festival. The Hennessy Gold Cup, is one of the best-known and historic races in the calendar and provides the highlight of this winter fixture.
Attention turns to Sandown in December, when it hosts its first Grade One race of the season, the Tingle Creek Chase. Always a fiercely-contested contest, the 2013 winner will have to go some way to emulate the impressive performance of Sprinter Sacre in the 2012 renewal.
Boxing Day is all about Kempton Park and the William Hill King George VI Chase, a three-mile race over fences won by some of the greatest chasers in the history of the sport, including Best Mate, Kauto Star, Desert Orchid, Pendil, Arkle and Long Run.
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