2024 Horse Racing Calendar

Here is your guide to every major horse racing event due to take place in 2024 taking place in the UK, Ireland and around the world.

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MonthMajor Horse Racing Events in 2024
MarchCheltenham Festival • The Lincoln (Start of the UK flat season)
AprilScottish Grand NationalGrand National FestivalIrish Grand NationalPunchestown Festival
MayKentucky DerbyGuineas Festival • York Dante Festival
JuneEpsom Derby FestivalRoyal Ascot • Northumberland Plate
JulySummer FestivalJuly FestivalKing George WeekendGlorious Goodwood
AugustGlorious GoodwoodYork Ebor Festival
SeptemberSt Leger Festival • Sprint Cup Festival • Cambridgeshire Meeting
OctoberPrix de l’Arc de Triomphe • Future Champions Day
NovemberMelbourne CupBreeders CupThe November Festival
DecemberChristmas Festival • Tingle Creek • Welsh Grand National

Cheltenham Festival

When:12-15 March
Where:Cheltenham Racecourse
Featured Races:Champion Hurdle
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Stayers’ Hurdle
Gold Cup

The Cheltenham Festival is known as the biggest meeting in the national hunt calendar. It’s held every March with the feature race being the Gold Cup on the Friday. Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer at the Cheltenham Festival with 94 wins and Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey with 59 wins.

Scottish Grand National

When:19-20 April
Where:Ayr Racecourse
Featured Races:Scottish Champion Hurdle
Scottish Grand National

The Scottish Grand National is a Grade 3 run over a distance of about 4 miles. In 1974, Red Rum became the only horse to win the Scottish and English Grand National in the same year. Peter Scudamore won the race twice in 1987 and 1992. In 2021, Peter’s son, Tom Scudamore, won the race for the first time aboard Mighty Thunder for Lucinda Russell.

Grand National Festival

When:11-13 April
Where:Aintree racecourse
Featured Races:JLT Melling Steeple Chase
Topham Steeple Chase
The Grand National

The Grand National is held annually at Aintree racecourse and is run over 4 miles 2 furlongs. The horses will jump 30 fences in the race and some of the fences are well known, like The Chair, Becher’s Brook and the Canal Turn. It’s also the richest national hunt race in Europe.

Irish Grand National

When:1 April
Where:Fairyhouse Racecourse

The Irish Grand National is run on the final day of Fairyhouse’s Easter meeting and is run over a distance of 3 miles and 5 furlongs.

Punchestown Festival

When:30 April – May 4
Where:Punchestown Racecourse
Featured Races:Champion Chase
Punchestown Gold Cup
Champion Stayers’ Hurdle
Champion Hurdle

The Punchestown Festival is Ireland biggest national hunt meeting and is held over five days with 40 races taking place, and it includes 12 Grade 1s. The feature race of the festival is the Punchestown Gold Cup, which is held on day 2 of the meeting.

QIPCO Guineas Festival

When:3-5 May
Where:Newmarket Racecourse
Featured Races:2000 Guineas
1000 Guineas

The QIPCO Guineas Festival was expanded in 2022 and is now held over 3 days with the 2000 Guineas being the feature race on Day 2, and the 1000 Guineas being the highlight of Day 3. The 2000 and 1000 Guineas are both run over a mile and it’s the first chance the 3-year-olds get at Classic glory. Both races form the first leg of the Triple Crown, followed by the Derby and Oaks at Epsom and then finishing with the St Leger at Doncaster in September.

Kentucky Derby

When:4 May
Where:Churchill Downs Racecourse

The Kentucky Derby is held annually at Churchill Downs and it’s a Grade 1 race for three-year-olds. The race is run over a distance of 1 mile and a quarter on dirt. In America, it’s described as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”. It’s also the first leg of the Triple Crown, which is then followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes.

Epsom Derby Festival

When:31 May – 1 June
Where:Epsom Racecourse
Featured Races:Epsom Oaks
Epsom Derby

The Epsom Derby Festival is held over 2 spectacular days on the Epsom Downs. The Epsom Oaks is a Group 1 for the fillies and is the feature race of Day 1. The Epsom Derby is a Group 1 for the colts and is the feature race of Day 2. The Epsom Derby is also the richest flat race in Britain and is the most prestigious of all 5 Classics. Both the Derby and Oaks are run over a distance on 1 mile 4 furlongs.

Royal Ascot

When:18-22 June
Where:Ascot Racecourse
Featured Races:St James’ Palace Stakes
Prince of Wales’s Stakes
The Gold Cup
Coronation Stakes
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Royal Ascot is one of most prestigious horse racing meetings in the world. It’s held over 5 days with the Royal Procession beginning each day at 1:30pm when various members of the Royal Family arrive down the straight mile in the Royal Landaus. Royal Ascot is Britain’s most valuable race meeting and it attracts all the best racehorses from around the world. There are eighteen Group races across the 5 days, with eight of them being Group 1s.

The Summer Festival

When:5-6 July
Where:Sandown Park Racecourse
Featured Race:Eclipse

The Summer Festival features 2 days of the very best Flat racing held at Sandown Park. The Group 1 Eclipse is run over a mile and a quarter on Day 2 of the meeting. This is the first major opportunity for the Classic generation of three-year-olds to face their older rivals.  

July Festival

When:11-13 July
Where:Newmarket Racecourse (July Course)
Featured Race:Darley July Cup

The July Festival is held over 3 days on Newmarket’s July course with the feature race being the Group 1 Darley July Cup which is held on the final day of the meeting. The Darley July Cup is run over six furlongs and is one of the most prestigious sprint races in Britain. Horses often travel from all over the world to run in this race.

King George Weekend

When:26-27 July
Where:Ascot Racecourse
Featured Races:King George VI
Queen Elizabeth Stakes

This is Ascot’s summer showpiece meeting with the Grade 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes being the feature races. It’s run over a distance of 1 mile 4 furlong and is open to all age groups. The winner now also receives an automatic invitation to compete in the same year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Glorious Goodwood Festival

When:30 July – 3 August
Where:Goodwood Racecourse
Featured Races:Goodwood Cup
Nassau Stakes
King George Stakes
Stewards’ Cup

The five-day ‘Glorious Goodwood’ meeting is one of the highlights of the British horse racing season. The featured race on day one of the festival is the Goodwood Cup, while the biggest race on the final day of the meeting is the prestigious Stewards’ Cup.

York Ebor Festival

When:21-24 August
Where:York Racecourse
Featured Races:Juddmonte International Stakes
Darley Yorkshire Oaks
Nunthorpe Stakes
York Ebor Handicap

The York Ebor Festival is one of the most popular racing meetings in the UK and it attracts owners and trainers from all over the world. The Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes is run on the first day of the meeting and is the most valuable race of the week. It all ends on the Saturday with the Ebor Handicap which is now the most valuable flat handicap in Europe.

St Leger Festival

When:12-15 September
Where:Doncaster Racecourse
Featured Race:St Leger Stakes

The St Leger Festival is undeniably the jewel in the crown for Doncaster racecourse as it hosts the oldest and final Classic of the season with the St Leger Stakes being run on the last day of the meeting.  

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

When:6 October
Featured Race:Longchamp Racecourse

The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is a Group 1 flat race open to all age groups and ran over a distance of about 1 mile 4 furlongs. It’s one of the most prestigious races in Europe and it’s also the world’s second richest turf race.

Melbourne Cup

When:5 November
Where:Flemington Racecourse

The Melbourne Cup is the richest 2-mile handicap in the world and one the most prestigious races in the world. It’s known as the race that stops a nation and a crowd of over 100,000 people attend Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington racecourse.

Breeders’ Cup

When:1-2 November
Where:Del Mar Racecourse
Featured Races:Breeders Cup Classic
Breeders Cup Turf
Breeders Cup Mile

The Breeders’ Cup meeting is one of the biggest and best meetings in the world with all the best horses from all over batting it out in Grade 1 races across 2 thrilling days. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the most valuable race at $6 million and is the final race run on the second day of the meeting.

The November Meeting

When:15-17 November
Where:Cheltenham Racecourse
Featured Races:Paddy Power Gold Cup
Greatwood Hurdle

The November meeting at Cheltenham is the first major jumps festival of the season and the first chance for the top national hunt trainers in the UK and Ireland to go head-to-head with their star horses.

Christmas Festival

When:26 – 27 December
Where:Kempton Park Racecourse
Featured Races:King George VI Chase
Christmas Hurdle
The Desert Orchid Chase.

The Christmas Festival at Kempton is one of the highlights of the national hunt fixture list. The King George VI Chase is a mid-season trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with plenty of horses going on to win the big race in March. The Grade 1 race is run over 3 miles and is the feature race across the 2 days.

Dave has worked in the horse racing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the racing world, including Sir AP McCoy, Sam Twiston-Davies, Emma Spencer, Aidan Coleman, and Nick Scholfield to name a few. Dave has worked at all the major racing festivals in the UK and Ireland, including Royal Ascot, the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.
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