It’s been another great year for horse racing. Rachael Blackmore’s Honeysuckle swooped to a first place finish at Cheltenham, Frankie Dettori defied all the odds with a win in his 13th ever race at Royal Ascot, and Lucinda Russell stole hearts during the 175th Grand National.
But the excitement isn’t over just yet. While the big races have been and gone, there are still a couple more that are bound to set hearts racing. We’re going to take a look at both of them below and hand out a few convincing reasons why you should attend.
Sandown Tingle Creek Festival
Taking place on the 8th and 9th of December, this is a pre-Christmas feast of racing that always seems to draw in the crowds. Offering the second-biggest prize in UK racing, it’s a good idea to keep up to date with weekly tips and odds, especially considering the calibre of competitors this race brings in.
This is a race for National Hunt fans, with the infamous Tingle Creek Chase taking place over a course of two miles. If you’re concerned about the weather – it does get a little chilly during the winter – there is also a venue known as the Bavarian Beer Hall where you can not only warm up, but get to know some of your fellow punters and discuss the intricacies of the race.
Kempton Christmas Festival
If we’re talking about prestigious festivals, then you can’t get more prestigious than the legendary Kempton Christmas Festival, which takes place on the 26th and 27th of December. This is another National Hunt race, containing the adrenaline and excitement of three Grade 1s, the Boxing Day showpiece, the King George VI Chase, and the Christmas Hurdle and Kauto Star Chase.
We mentioned the word “prestigious”, mostly due to the fascinating history that revolves around the racecourse. The first run took place in 1937, but during WWII, the racecourse was used as a prison of war camp, and it only returned to its racing ways a few years later, in 1947. It also is one of the few UK races that dares to take place so deep into winter – proven by the number of abandonments that fell down to frost, snow, foot and mouth, and frost and snow again!
Get Your Racing Gear On
Both of these events are true festivals of racing, so it’s a great idea to grab a ticket before they’re all swept up. If you haven’t been to a race before, all you need to do is familiarise yourself with the racing dress code, take a look at the course, check out the handicap of the horses, and make sure to attain a racing schedule – it’s very easy to lose track of time while conversing with fellow racing-enthusiasts at the bar!
Oh, as well as this, make sure to factor in the weather when it comes to your dress code! These races take place over the course of two days, so you’re going to be exposed to the elements for a long time. Remember, this isn’t Royal Ascot. The only umbrellas you’ll be needing are the ones that keep out the rain!