A Guide To The Big 3 Horse Races In The UK

When I think about horse racing as a Brit I think of the main three horse races that get the whole world watching. The Grand National, Cheltenham and The Royal Ascot are the biggest three races in the world, arguably, and the attendance and viewing statistics show this.  As someone lucky enough to go to all three, I feel like I have a good understanding of which is better and which I would attend again. 

The Grand National 

Since 1839 The Grand National has been one of the biggest horse races in the world taking place at the Aintree racecourse near Liverpool. This race is famous for its length and the amount of fences the race has, with a whopping thirty. The fences are some of the most famous in the world and the sheer excitement that these bring to the fans and commentators is hard to match in the world of sport. With the prize money being the biggest in Europe at £1 million, it adds even more to this fantastic race.

The Grand National is arguably the most watched horse race in the world with around 500 million people watching it around the world each year. The viewing statistics of this horse race are helped by the racing betting figures and the betting culture that follows the sport in general, with The Grand National being the main event in the horse racing world. 

The Cheltenham Festival 

In March each year the Cheltenham Festival takes place in, you guessed it, Cheltenham. Cheltenham sits just behind the Grand National with the second-biggest prize pot in Europe which, again, adds a lot to the race and gets some of the best riders, like Rahcel Blackmore, racing there. 

The difference between The Grand National and Cheltenham is the amount of races that are there. Cheltenham is a festival and this means it lasts longer and is a bigger and better day out than The Grand National, which goes into my decision of which one is better to attend. 

The Royal Ascot 

The Royal Ascot has been around for a lot longer than both of these with it being founded in 1711. Ascot takes place in Berkshire each year and often has attendees from the Royal Family and other big families around the world. 

In 1807 the racing landscape changed when the Gold Cup was added to the Royal Ascot race list. This race is one of the biggest races in the world and is the main event of the Ascot. As a horse racing fan, it is a massive privilege to have watched it and something I think all massive horse racing fans should try to watch live. 

Which One Should You Attend? 

When attending each of the races, I saw the differences between them and noticed although they had similarities, they were not the same. The Royal Ascot is a shorter day out because it only has one race, but the excitement for that race is the best of any race in the world.  

With Cheltenham, it is a better full day out and fewer horse racing fans who just want to bet and have a good day with friends can attend this and have a fantastic day. With the Ascot, I spoke about the attendees and the power of the people who attend means you need to be on your best behaviour. That doesn’t mean you can’t drink and have fun, but with other races like Cheltenham, you can be less formal in your activities.  

My Choice 

If I had the choice between all three and I could only choose one I would pick Cheltenham. This is a really hard decision, but I think for a sports-related day out, there isn’t much better than Cheltenham.