The winter months are starting to pass by and we can now look forward to a spring and summer schedule of horse racing. With the days of lockdown and limited capacities a thing of the past, we can now also look forward to packed out stands of excited punters cheering their favourite riders on to victory.
In this article we take a look at some of the biggest and best horse races yet to come for 2022 that you can wager on. If we inadvertently miss out your favourite horse race, let us know why it should have been included in the comments section below.
When? Tuesday 15th March – Friday 18th March
Horse racing is the second most popular spectator sport in the UK and the Cheltenham Festival, held around St. Patrick’s Day every year is one of the most eagerly attended events in the country.
The four-day event sees some of the best runners and riders from the UK and Ireland descend on Gloucestershire to battle it out for the glory and humongous purse…
The Cheltenham betting is always notoriously hard to call with several outsiders upsetting the Cheltenham odds in recent years. The favourites for this year’s Gold Cup however are last year’s winner Minella Indo, Galvin and A Plus Tard.
(Minella Indo romps to victory in the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup.)
The Grand National
When? Saturday 9th April
The only British horse race more popular and famous than the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Grand National. First run in 1839, this 4 mile and 2-and-a-half furlong race with 30 jumps is seen as the ultimate test of horse fitness, finesse and rider control.
It has been the graveyard both literally and metaphorically of some of the biggest name horses in the sports throughout the decades. Last year it was won by Rachael Blackmore, who became the first female winner of the Grand National riding Minella Times.
The favourites ahead of this year’s meet are Any Second Now, Snow Leapardess and Escaria Ten but better beware, out of all the races on the planet, the Grand National is renowned for throwing up unexpected winners.
(Rachel Blackmore makes history becoming the first female rider to win the Grand National in its 182-year history.)
The Kentucky Derby
When? Saturday 7th May
Another world-famous and historic race to get the pulses racing is the Kentucky Derby, held annually in Louisville. The Derby is the culmination of a two-week event and markets itself as the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”.
In 2021 that billing was slightly off the mark as the winning horse, Mandaloun, ridden by Florent Geroux came in with a winning time of 2:01:36. This year the three favourites to follow in Mandaloun’s foot hoof steps are Messier, Epicenter, and Smile Happy.
(Mandaloun and Florent Geroux were victorious in last year’s Kentucky Derby but were just 1.36 out from the event’s PR slogan.)
The Melbourne Cup
When? Tuesday 1st November
When the northern hemisphere is closing up for the winter, attentions begin to turn to Australia in the southern hemisphere. At the beginning of November Flemington Racecourse hosts the world famous Melbourne Cup.
Run over 3.2 kilometres, this race for three-year-olds and over sees some of the very best horse racing action on the planet. In front of a reduced capacity of 10,000 vaccinated attendees James McDonald rode Verry Elleegant to victory in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
Tentative early odds suggest that Incentivise, Verry Elleegant and T O Royal are amongst the favourites to win the 2022 edition.
The Japan Cup
When? Sunday 27th November
The only country that can rival the UK for public interest in horse racing is Japan, where huge crowds regularly flock to races. The most prestigious of which is the Japan Cup which is held at Tokyo Racecourse on the last Sunday of November each year.
The 2.4 kilometre three-year and older race was won by Yuichi Fukunaga who rode Contrail to success in 2021. Most bookmakers have yet to update their odds for the 2022 event but Contrail is thought to be up there amongst the favourites once again.