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The home of intelligent horse racing discussion

The biggest races coming up in the horse racing calendar

Horse racing fans in the United Kingdom and Ireland are spoilt for choice over the next few weeks, with the schedule packed with a host of top-class races.

While flat racing is slowly taking centre stage, there are still some hugely important National Hunt races set to be run during April.

With that in mind, we take a closer look at what is on the agenda, starting with an event which is an important stepping stone to bigger races later in the season.

Alleged Stakes – The Curragh – April 6

The Group 3 Alleged Stakes at The Curragh on April 6 could provide a major pointer for the prestigious Tattersalls Gold Cup at the same track next month.

Trainer John Joseph Murphy has identified the race as a potential starting point for last season’s Epsom Derby third White Birch.

The horse has reportedly wintered extremely well and connections believe he is primed to enjoy a productive four-year-old campaign.

Details on how to bet on Irish horse racing can be found here for punters who fancy White Birch to make his mark at the top level this season.

Grand National – Aintree – April 13

Having dominated their British counterparts at the Cheltenham Festival last month, Irish trainers are eyeing another big National Hunt prize in April.

The betting for the Grand National at Aintree is dominated by Irish-trained horses, yet they could easily return home empty-handed.

Last year’s winner Corach Rambler has been heavily backed to win the race again after running a fine race to finish third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell is eyeing her third success in the long-distance steeplechase and will fancy her chances of achieving the feat.

Punchestown Gold Cup – Punchestown – May 1

Galopin Des Champs cemented his status as the best staying chaser in the business after claiming back-to-back victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The eight-year-old will now bid to follow up in the Punchestown Gold Cup on May 1 and it would be a brave move to back against him getting the job done.

The horse ran third behind Fastorslow in last year’s renewal, but trainer Willie Mullins believes he has improved significantly since that defeat.

If Galopin Des Champs produces the same level of form he displayed at Cheltenham, his rivals will be battling for second place prize money at best.

2000 Guineas – Newmarket – May 4

City Of Troy demolished his opponents with three towering performances as a two-year-old to leap to the head of the betting for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien believes the horse could be the best he has ever trained – lofty praise given the talented performers he has previously had in his stable.

City Of Troy has been talked about in the same breath as the legendary Frankel, which undoubtedly ramps up the pressure on his bid to win the 2000 Guineas.

If the horse emerges victorious on the Rowley Mile, his odds to follow up in the Epsom Derby the following month would be slashed.

Kentucky Derby – Churchill Downs – May 4

The Kentucky Derby will celebrate its 150th running on May 4, marking a historic landmark for one of North America’s most iconic sporting events.

Sierre Leone is the ante-post favourite to win the race following an impressive victory in the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course in February.

The Chad Brown trained horse is scheduled to warm up for the Kentucky Derby by running in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland this weekend.

A victory there would have the bookmakers running for cover and boost Brown’s chances of winning the prestigious race at Churchill Downs for the first time.