This year’s Cheltenham Festival is now beginning to take shape in terms of the likely favourites and which horses will go where. The next piece of the jigsaw fits into place this coming Saturday, as the home of the greatest racing festival on the planet lays on its official “Trials Day”.

The name of this meeting would suggest it is merely a preliminary for the big one back here in March, but that is possibly a little misleading. There is plenty of prize money up for grabs across this seven-race card, and no doubt a few of these runners will have a win here as a major target, with any further success at the Festival coming as an added bonus.

In terms of pointers towards Festival winners, this meeting has something of a mixed record – of the winners here last season, only Mister Whitaker followed up at the Festival itself. Other years have fared better though, and this remains a fixture well worth a watch both in its own right, and with an eye to those ante post punts. Here we take a closer look at exactly what we have in store.

The racing action certainly comes thick and fast over the festive period, with plenty for fans to get stuck into up and down the country. Wales gets in on the act too as Chepstow plays host to its flagship meeting.

Headlined of course by the first “National” of the season, it will be that stamina-sapping contest which grabs most of the attention, but we do have plenty of quality on offer on the undercard, including a cracking Grade 1 Hurdle for the juveniles. There are seven winners to find in all, and here we give it our very best shot.

Late December each year marks just about the midway point of the jumps season. No time for a half time break though as Kempton Park serves up a spectacular feast of sporting action to keep the adrenaline pumping. Kicking off on Boxing Day this two-day festival never fails to keep that festive feeling rolling for just a little longer.

For many of course, this meeting is really all about one race. The mighty King George VI Chase is one of the few National Hunt contests of the season which draws even non-racing fans into this wonderful sport. Jam packed with excitement and drama, and with genuine racing legends such as Arkle, Desert Orchid, Kauto Star and more all featuring on the roll of honour, this staying chase marvel has a well deserved place towards the top of the racing tree.

It’s not all about the big one though. We have a further 11 races on offer over the course of the two days, including another four Graded contests, spearheaded by the excellent Christmas Hurdle, in addition to a clutch of handicap puzzles to solve. All in all a real Christmas Cracker!

As the winter months draw in, the weather may take a turn for the worse, but one area where things really do begin to heat up is in the world of National Hunt horse racing. We will already have witnessed a handful of big races by the time we reach the middle of November, but this time of year marks the first real festival of note as we head to Cheltenham racecourse – where else – for a three-day bonanza of quality jumping action.

Always one or the most popular meetings of the early season with racegoers, its Friday to Sunday scheduling helps to make this an always much anticipated and well attended event.

We have nineteen contests on offer in all over the three days, featuring key trials for the four day Cheltenham Fetsival back here in March, informative bumper and novice contests and some of the biggest early season handicap events on the racing calendar.

Horses Racing on a Dirt Track

Late October/early November each year sees a real treat for racing fans as the annual Breeders’ Cup meeting takes place stateside. Held on a rotating roster of tracks, the Breeders’ Cup has no true home as such, but wherever it is staged, it is one meeting not to be missed.

Astronomical prize money, packed stands, the best of the best of the US performers locking horns with a squadron of talented overseas runners, all with a little added glitz, glamour and razzmatazz, make this one of the greatest racing shows of the season put on anywhere in the world.

Horses Racing in a Group

Late October each year sees one of the most anticipated single days of racing of the British flat racing season take place at one of the country’s most iconic racecourses. For many racing fans it is the five day extravaganza which is the Royal Ascot Festival which is the undoubted highlight of the flat season, and the scene of many of the most abiding memories of the campaign year after year. It is therefore only fitting that we return to the Berkshire venue for the season-ending celebration that is British Champions Day.

With contests for the best sprinters, milers, fillies and stayers and of course the headline act of the British Champions Stakes itself, as well as the crowning of the champion flat jockey of the season, this meeting acts as the perfect send off for the best of the flat performers before the winter nights set in and focus turns towards the jumps.

It may be named “British Champions Day”, but rest assured that the stellar prize money on offer will attract not only the top domestic performers, but also those from Ireland, France and occasionally even further afield.

Galloping Racehorse

This coming Saturday sees one of the very best single days of racing of the autumn months take place at Newmarket, as the tracks two-day Future Champions meeting brings us a glimpse of some of the stars of the next few seasons.

Always a meeting to pay close attention to, particularly in regard to next season’s Classic’s, it seems likely we will have at least one potential superstar on display once again this year.

With the flat racing season nearing its conclusion there are still some big meetings left to savour, not least that of the final Classic of the season as the St Leger Festival brings racing fans flocking to Doncaster.

ebor festival at york racecourseWe don’t know about you but when it comes to racing festivals, we are firm believers that there is no such thing as too many. By the time we reach the dying embers of August each year, the majority of the major racing stories for the Flat season will already have been written, but we still have room for a few more twisting and turning chapters yet.

View Behind Horse Racing FieldHeading into August, the majority of the big summer racing meetings are all done and dusted for another year. Last but certainly not least though we have the Sussex showpiece of Glorious Goodwood. Whilst this meeting may not have the pomp and pageantry of Royal Ascot, or the classic prestige of the Derby meeting, it does have the beautiful backdrop of the Sussex countryside, excellent prize money and more Panama hats than you can shake a stick at.