Horse Racing in the UK

Curious about U.K. Horse racing? Read this handy guide to learn more about horse racing, UK betting and other key information about the Sport of Kings!


Horse racing is the second most popular sport with spectators in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The sport is worth just over £4 billion to the British economy each year, according to BBC reports in 2021, and many UK races occupy iconic positions in British popular culture. The Grand National is often the only race on which some people bet in their entire lives, as one example.

Horse Racing UK

This article will give you an outline of the type of horse racing UK punters enjoy. We’ll give you some information about famous U K horse racing venues, as well as some of the iconic horses and jockeys who have illuminated the sport over the years. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to put together a betting strategy that can hopefully bring you a few wins from the U K horse racing results today. Read on to find out more!

Famous British Racecourses

British racecourses are famous across the world, with some of them hosting truly iconic festivals of horse racing that are popular with international as well as domestic racing fans. Here are some of the most famous UK racecourses.

Epsom Downs Racecourse

Located on the hills near the town of Epsom in Surrey, horse races have been held on this site since at least 1661. The course is actually in a public area, which means that spectators can watch iconic races such as The Derby at the course for free. Other races held at Epsom Downs apart from The Derby include the Princess Elizabeth Stakes and The Oaks.

Aintree Racecourse

Aintree is one of the most famous venues in U K horse racing. Located in Sefton, close to the great city of Liverpool, the venue is best known for hosting the Grand National each April. Opened way back in 1829, the course features fences like the Chair, Foinavon, Valentine’s, Canal Turn and, most famous of all, the deadly Becher’s Brook. The great Red Rum is buried adjacent to the course’s winning post, and fans still make pilgrimages to the site to this day.

Cheltenham Racecourse

This National Hunt racecourse is located in Gloucestershire, and is famous for hosting the Cheltenham Festival each March. This is one of horse racing in the UK’s best-attended events, and is known for attracting a big contingent from Ireland each year. The showpiece race of the festival is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but other iconic races like the Champion Hurdle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase are also held there.

Ascot Racecourse

Used for both jumps and flat racing, Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire is best known for hosting Royal Ascot each June. This five-day festival of racing is one of horse racing in the UK’s best attended events. It includes great races such as the King George V Stakes, the Windsor Castle Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes, and is also known for social events such as Ladies’ Day.

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Iconic UK Horse Races

For fans of horse racing, UK courses host some of the most exciting events in the world. Here are some of the biggest UK horse races so look out for them when you check the U K horse racing results today.

The Grand National

Staged at Aintree Racecourse, this iconic event is the most valuable jump race in Europe, and it is undoubtedly the best-known race in horse racing for UK fans. Horses and jockeys have to display supreme courage and endurance to triumph over its 30 fences and four-mile-and-two-and-a-half-furlong course.

The Epsom Derby

Often referred to simply as ‘The Derby’, this famous race takes place at Epsom Downs in Surrey on the first Saturday of June each year. It forms the second of UK flat racing’s Triple Crown, along with the 2000 Guineas and the St Leger, though it is rare that a horse even attempts to win all three in the modern era of horse racing in the UK.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

This Grade 1 National Hunt race forms the centerpiece of the annual Cheltenham Festival, held in March each year. The horses race over three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs, jumping 22 fences. Great horses such as Best Mate, Arkle and Kauto Star are among the illustrious list of the race’s winners. Like many UK horse races, it has a long history, having been first run in 1819 as a flat race and in 1924 as a jumps race.

The Scottish Grand National

This Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase is staged at Ayr Racecourse in Scotland each year in April. The Scottish equivalent to the English Grand National at Aintree, a clutch of famous horses have won both this race and the race at Aintree, including Little Polveir.


Noteworthy British Jockeys

For people who love horse racing, UK jockeys occupy a special place in the history of the sport. Some British jockeys have ridden winners all over the world, and here we’ll take a closer look at some of the real stars of the sport’s history who have their origins in these islands.

Willie Carson

One of the few Scots to become truly famous as a jockey, Willie Carson was born in Stirling in Scotland. He was British Champion Jockey on five occasions, and won 17 British Classic races. His career tally of 3.828 winners makes him the fourth most successful jockey in Britain. He rode 100 winners in a season 23 times.  As well as his success in the saddle, Carson also became a much-loved media figure in the UK, being team captain on the BBC TV show Question of Sport, as well as working in horse racing punditry.

Tony McCoy

Born in Northern Ireland, Sir Anthony Peter McCoy OBE, is one of the UK’s most famous jockeys. Usually referred to as Tony McCoy or AP McCoy, U K horse racing fans enjoyed his performances for many years. He was Champion Jockey 20 times between 1995 and 2015, and won many iconic races, including the Grand National, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George VI chase. He has won the English, Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals as a jockey.

Peter Scudamore

Peter Scudamore MBE is a former National Hunt jockey who now works as a trainer. The Englishman’s career began in 1978, and over 15 years he would go on to achieve an all-time career record of 1,678 winners. He enjoyed 13 victories at the Cheltenham Festival, including the Gold Cup twice. He won the Scottish Grand National twice as well as a host of other iconic races. Another claim to fame is that Scudamore became the first jockey to ride over 150 winners in a season.

Great British Racehorses

Anyone checking out the latest horse racing results in the UK will be familiar with some great British horses’ names.

Red Rum

Although foaled in Ireland, it was in the UK that the great Red Rum achieved greatness and the kind of lasting fame that is rare for an animal. He won the Grand National on three occasions – in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and came second on two other occasions. His victory in 1973, where he overcame a 30-length deficit to storm up and win, is widely regarded as the greatest Grand National victory of all time. Such is the great steed’s fame that his grave is located adjacent to the winning post at Aintree Racecourse.

Desert Orchid

This grey is considered one of the greatest National Hunt horses of all time, and he is certainly one of horse racing’s most prolific ever winners. One of only a tiny handful of horses to have completed the challenging treble of victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Irish Grand National and King George VI Chase, ‘Dessie’ was he was affectionately known, won 34 of his 70 starts and returned to Kempton Park every year to lead out the parade of runners for the King George VI Chase until his death in 2006. His ashes are interred close to his statue at Kempton Park.


Arguably the greatest British flat racer of recent times, Frankel captured the hearts of U K horse racing fans during his career. Between 2010 and 2012, he won all 14 of the races in which he ran, and was the highest-rated racehorse in the world from May 2011. His victories in races such as the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in 2011 and in the Queen Anne Stakes in June 2012 helped him acquire his legendary status.

How to bet on horse racing in the UK

If you’re wondering how to bet on horse racing, this is where we tell you. Betting on horse racing is very simple, as long as you make sure that you are familiar with all the types of bets that can be placed before you dive in. When you have opened an account at an online sportsbook, you can bet by following this process.

  • Select the race on which you want to bet and consider all the odds
  • Select your horse by clicking on it, then decide the type of bet you wish to place and click to confirm
  • Choose your stake and click to confirm it, you should see this added to your bet slip
  • Check all details, and make sure you have enough funds in your account to cover your stake before you confirm your bet

Simple bets on horse racing in UK include a straight bet on a horse to win, as well as Each Way bets. There is also a huge range of combination bets, and you can read more about these in our guide to horse racing bet types on this website.


A successful betting strategy for horse racing in the UK

When betting on horse racing, UK punters need to take a number of factors into account before placing any wagers. As with any form of sports betting, knowledge is key to success. You need to make sure that you know as much as possible about the horses, jockeys and trainers in any race on which you plan to bet. The form is the best indicator of how a horse and jockey combination is likely to perform on the day.

As well as the horse and jockey, though, you must also take into account the recent successes and failures of the trainer. The trainer is like the team coach in football – he prepares the horse for the race. Trainers will often have a specific plan for a horse’s season in mind. They will target specific races and look to bring a horse to its peak for the biggest races of the season. Always keep this in mind and wherever possible try to discover which races a trainer is targeting for which horses.

The British weather can play a role in UK  horse racing results today

Another factor that can play a big part in shaping UK horse racing results today is the weather. There is a tremendous variety of ground conditions at British racecourses – ranging from firm ground during hot, dry spells in the summer, to heavy wet ground in the winter. Summer storms and crisp, clear winter days can change things too, and the unpredictable nature of the UK weather throws a spanner in the works for many trainers and jockeys as well as bettors!

This makes it really important that you check what kind of conditions a horse favours before you place a bet on it.


As you can see, when it comes to horse racing, UK betting fans are well served with a menu of iconic venues, great races and famous jockeys. We have only skimmed the surface of the kind of horse racing UK fans can enjoy all year round. British horse racing offers fans a rich tapestry of excitement and provides plenty of great entertainment for betting fans. While virtual horse racing continues to develop and offer punters more varied options, there is nothing quite like seeing the real thing!

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