Alongside soccer betting, horse racing betting is the driving force of the UK gambling industry and has been for many years.

It has a fiercely loyal following across the UK, where almost every day of the year there are one, often many more, meetings contested both over fences and on the flat, depending on the time of year.

Of course, bet365 Sport has an extensive range of horse racing betting markets you can get on for each meeting and race, plus it is also the home of a number of horse racing promotions too, all of which means that customers tend to get a very good deal when betting on the horses with bet365.

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While every day meetings and races are the heartbeat of the industry, every year there are a number of massively important and prestigious races run.

In this article, we are going to give novice horse racing punters a list of some of the most important, impressive and sometimes, best value races to bet on over the course of the calendar year.

And hopefully, armed with this information, you may well enjoy a wager or two on these races when they take place this year.

The Grand National

  • Venue – Aintree, Liverpool, UK
  • 2023 Date – 13th to 15th April (Race on 15th April)
  • 2022 Winner – Noble Yeats (Sam Waley-Cohen) – 50/1
  • Fences/Flat – Fences
  • First Run – 1839
  • Distance – 7,242m

Figuratively known as the Peoples Race, the 40-strong field at the Grand National is always one of the biggest days in racing as it is the only time many people will bet on a race over the course of the year. The famous Aintree fences make the race what it is and past winners include the legendary Red Rum, who won this race three times, still the only horse to achieve that feat.

2023 Antepost Selection – The Big Dog (E/W) – 25/1

The Derby

  • Venue – Epsom Downs, Surrey, UK
  • 2023 Date – 2nd & 3rd June (Race on 3rd June)
  • 2022 Winner – Desert Crown (Richard Kingscote) – 5/2 fav
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 1780
  • Distance – 2,400m

The richest and most prestigious of the five classics of the flat season in the UK, the Epsom Derby is also one of the oldest races in the world. This Blue Riband race meet is one of the best attended events in the UK each year and some of the most famous horses in racing history are past winners including Shergar, Nashwan, Galileo and Sinndar.

2023 Antepost Selection – Auguste Rodin – 3/1 fav

The Prix d’L’Arc de Triomph

  • Venue – Longchamp Racecourse, Paris, France
  • 2023 Date – 30th Sept – 1st October 2023 (race on 1st October)
  • 2022 Winner – Alpinista (Luke Morris) – 5/1 Jt-Fav
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 1920
  • Distance – 2,400m

Raced every year on the first Sunday in October, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomph is the biggest race at the famous Longchamp meeting every year. Open to three-year-olds and up, but no geldings, and is one of the biggest races in Europe every year. No horse has ever won the race three times, but eight have won it twice.

2023 Antepost Selection – Vadeni – 12/1 fav

The Melbourne Cup

  • Venue – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2023 Date – 4th Nov – 11th Nov (Race is on 7th November)
  • 2022 Winner – Gold Trip (Mark Zahra) – 20/1
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 1861
  • Distance – 3,200m

With a purse of $5.3m, the Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious races run each year in Australia. The race is for 3-year-olds and up and it took until 2018 for the first British-trained horse to win the race, Cross Counter. Held each year on the first Tuesday in November, the most famous horse in the race is Makybe Diva, who is the only three-time winner of the race, winning each year from 2003 to 2005 inclusive.

2023 Antepost Selection – Deauville Legend (E/W) – 20/1

The Kentucky Derby

  • Venue – Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  • 2023 Date – 5th May
  • 2022 Winner – Rich Strike (Sonny Leon) – 80/1
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 1875
  • Distance – 2,000m

The Run for the Roses (so named due to the winner being draped in a blanket of the flowers), this famous race is also known as “The Fastest Two-Minutes In Sport”. With $3m up for grabs in the race, it is contested each year at Churchill Downs in Kentucky and features many of the top sprinters in the world and is equivalent to the Epsom Derby in the UK. It is also the first leg of the American Triple Crown with the other races being the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

2023 Antepost Selection – Arabian Knight – 8/1

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

  • Venue – Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK
  • 2023 Date – 14th – 17th March (Race on 17th March)
  • 2022 Winner – A Plus Tard (Rachael Blackmore) – 3/1 fav
  • Fences/Flat – Fences
  • First Run – 1924
  • Distance – 5.294m

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest meets of the year in the UK and for many it is THE event of the year to attend. Alongside a number of other Grade 1 races, the highlight event is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is raced on Friday each year. Next year’s event will be the 100th anniversary of the first Gold Cup meet.

2023 Antepost Selection – Galopin Des Champs – 11/8 fav

The 2000 Guineas

  • Venue – Newmarket Racecourse, Suffolk, UK.
  • 2023 Date – 6th & 7th May (Race on 6th May)
  • 2022 Winner – Coerebus (James Doyle) – 5/1
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 1809
  • Distance – 1,609m

The standout race of the Saturday of the Guineas Meet at Newmarket, the 2,000 Guineas is the first major flat race of the UK flat season and previous winners include some of the biggest names in horse racing. This sprint up the famous Rowley Mile precedes the 1,000 Guineas for fillies which takes place the day after.

2023 Antepost Selection – Noble Style – 10/1

The Dubai World Cup

  • Venue – Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, UAE
  • 2023 Date – 25th March 2023
  • 2022 Winner – Country Grammar (Frankie Dettori)
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 1996
  • Distance – 2,000m

With $12m up for grabs, the Dubai World Cup is the richest race when the World Cup meeting is held in Meydan on the last Saturday in March each year. Open to three-year-olds and up from the southeren hemisphere and 4-year-olds and up from the northern, previous winners have included horses from all over the world including the UK, USA, UAE, Japan and France.

2023 Antepost Selection – Panthalassa – 8/1

The Breeders’ Cup Classic

  • Venue – Different Venue Each Year (2023 will be held at Santa Anita Park, California, US)
  • 2023 Date – 3rd to 4th November 2023
  • 2022 Winner – Flightline (Flavien Prat) – 3/5
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 1984
  • Distance – 2,000m

With a purse of $6m up for grabs the Breeders Cup is one of the more unusual races in this list as it is held at a different course each year. Horses have to qualify for the race and must be three years old and over. Alongside the Breeder’s Cup Turf race, it is the standout race of the two-day meeting held on the first Saturday in November each year.

2023 Antepost Selection – N/A yet at bet365

The Saudi Cup

  • Venue – King Abdulaziz Racecourse, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 2024 Date – 24th – 25th February 2024
  • 2023 Winner – Panthalassa (Yutaka Yoshida) – 10/1
  • Fences/Flat – Flat
  • First Run – 2020
  • Distance – 1,800m

This is the world’s most lucrative race with a total prize purse of $20m up for grabs ($10m to the winner), this is a relatively new race, first contested in 2020 and it is held on the last weekend in February each year. Japanese horse Panthalassa was the 10/1 winner of the race a week or so ago and as yet bet365 have not posted up an antepost market for the 2024 race.

2024 Antepost Selection – N/A yet at bet365

*Please note all odds shown were correct at bet365 Sport at the time of publication but may well have changed in the meantime.