2024 is set to be a huge year in the world of sports. In the world of football, UEFA Euro 2024 will be taking place in Germany throughout June and July, and the hosts, as well as back-to-back World Champions France and Gareth Southgate’s England, are all expected to go far. Then, the following month, the Olympic Games return. Hosted in Paris, thousands of the planet’s top athletes will embark on the City of Light all hoping to walk away with the coveted gold medal.
Horse racing is no different. The current year has a packed year when it comes to equestrian and The Grand National, Cheltenham Festival and the Epsom Derby will all be taking place. But when are the showpiece events taking place? Well, wonder no more.
The Cheltenham Festival
First up, we have the Cheltenham Festival, a four-day celebration of world-class racing. The action will take place from Tuesday, March 12th to Friday, March 15th at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire. The first race, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, starts at 1:30 pm and websites providing free Cheltenham bets to new customers have earmarked Ballyburn as a 13/8 favourite in the curtain raiser, and the likes of Mystical Power and Firefox will have to be at their very best if they are to beat him.
Last year’s Gold Cup Day was a thrilling spectacle that saw a surprise winner in the form of the 33/1 outsider Galopin Des Champs. This year, all eyes will be on the French horse once again as he is the short-priced favourite to retain his crown and bring the curtain down on the festival on March 15th.
With the entries for the Supreme, Ballymore, Triumph and Albert Bartlett already in, this year’s races look compelling. Outside of the Gold Cup, the big race is the Champion Hurdle and the field is stacked. But it is reigning champion Constitution Hill that is the odds-on favourite, and punters are already lumping on him in their droves.
The Grand National
Next on the horse racing calendar is the Grand National. This iconic race, known for its challenging course and unpredictable outcomes, will take place on April 13th at Aintree Racecourse. Unlike like the Gold Cup, last year’s winner Corach Rambler went off as the 8/1 favourite and he became just the second favourite in the last 12 years to romp to glory. He will undoubtedly be under the spotlight, but anything can happen with the greatest show on turf.
The Epsom Derby
Last but certainly not least is the Epsom Derby, one of the oldest and most prestigious flat races in the world. The Derby is typically held on the first Saturday in June at Epsom Downs Racecourse. While last year’s champion Auguste Rodin won’t be defending his title, a new crop of talented three-year-olds will be eager to make their mark. City of Troy is the early favourite having been priced at 5/2, and there is a whole host of other contenders waiting in the wings including the likes of Henry Longfellow and Ancient Wisdom.