Cheltenham Festival | 11th-14th March 2014
Cheltenham Festival returns in March, with four days of superb racing action sure to whet the appetite of every racing fan.
Champion Day kicks-off proceedings in Gloucestershire on the Tuesday, with Our Conor, Hurricane Fly and Nicky Henderson’s My Tent Or Yours set to battle it out in the Champion Hurdle.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Wednesday at Cheltenham sees the Queen Mother Champion Chase get underway. Sprinter Sacre cruised to victory here in 2013 and is the favourite to do the same again this time around. Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old is likely to face strong competition from Sire De Grugy and Benefficient.
A highly competitive field, including the likes of Big Bucks, 2013 Cheltenham winner At Fishers Cross and Rule The World, is expected to compete for the World Hurdle on Day Three at Cheltenham.
Betfred Gold Cup
Rounding off the festival is Gold Cup day on Friday. Undoubtedly the highlight of the week, the Betfred Gold Cup has a purse of around half a million pounds and is seen as the Blue Riband of jump racing.
Nicky Henderson will be hoping Bobs Worth can retain his title in 2014, but the eight-year-old gelding is likely to face strong competition for the famous trophy in a field that could also include Paul Nicholls’ Silviniaco Conti and Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card
Grand National | 5th April 2014
66/1 shot Auroras Encore provided a big shock at Aintree in 2013, but could another outsider take home the most valuable jump racing prize Europe has to offer in 2014 with a goliath £1 million purse up for grabs?
With over 30 fences, this grueling four-mile, three and a half furlong race is one of the most challenging steeplechases around and is the highlight of the horse racing calendar for both regular betters and novices alike, with over 500 million people tuning in worldwide.
First ran in 1839, the Grand National takes place at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool and is open to seven-year-olds with a BHA rating of 120 or more.
QIPCO 2000 Guineas | 3rd May 2014
Competed over one mile at Newmarket, the 2000 Guineas is another of the British Classics and marks the opening leg of the Triple Crown.
The 2000 Guineas is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies, with Godolphin’s Dawn Approach realising his potential in the 2013 race.
Aidan O’Brien’s War Command is well-fancied for Newmarket in 2014 after an impressive six-length victory in the Coventry Stakes.
QIPCO 1000 Guineas | 4th May 2014
Open to three-year-old fillies, the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket has been run since 1814 and is the opening leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown.
Richard Hannon’s Sky Lantern held off a challenge from Just The Judge to claim victory in 2013, but the Charles Hills-trained Kiyoshi is tipped for glory in 2014 after some solid showings, including an impressive Albany Stakes win.
Investec Oaks | 6th June 2014
The third of Britain’s five Classics in the calendar, the Investec Oaks has been ran annually at Epsom Downs since 1779 over one-mile, four furlongs and 10 yards.
Open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies, the Oaks represents the middle race of the Fillies’ Triple Crown, with it being preceded by the 1000 Guineas and followed by the St Leger.
Aidan O’Brien’s trio of Tapestry, Dazzling and Bracelet are expected to try and win a fifth Oaks title for the Irish trainer in 2014 after Richard Hughes’ Talent prevailed in 2013.
Investec Derby | 7th June 2014
Inaugurated in 1780, the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs - often known simply as ‘The Derby’ – is open to three-year-old throughbred colts and fillies and is ran over the same distance as the Oaks on the day previously.
The richest horse race in Britain, the Derby is also the most prestigious of the five Classics and marks the middle leg of the Triple Crown between the 2000 Guineas and the St Leger.
Aidan O’Brien’s Ruler Of The World took the top prize in 2013, with the red-hot favourite, Dawn Approach, finishing last after an unsettled race.