The New Year is well and truly underway, meaning sports fans have a whole new 12 months’ worth of events to look forward to. Some leagues will be restarting after the holiday break, while a new horse racing season will be getting under starters orders in the northern hemisphere. In anticipation, many bookmakers will be preparing special horse racing free bet offers for use on this year’s events.
Of all meetings taking place in 2022, here are some of the biggest that you’ll want to look out for.
The Grand National
Horse racing is one of the most popular sports around the world. It is known in many places as the “sport of kings” thanks to its historic connections to monarchs, but it is very much a sport for the people today.
Of all the nations that have a soft spot for horse racing, few love it as much as the Brits. During the height of the season, there will be meetings taking place every day, providing near-constant action for horse racing fans from the minute they get up to the moment they go to bed.
And while there are plenty of great horse racing events throughout the year, including Glorious Goodwood, the Cheltenham Festival, and Royal Ascot, none compare to the Grand National.
This huge event will be watched, listened to, and/or followed by much of the country as many as 40 horses and their jockeys compete for one of the most prestigious prizes in British and Irish jump racing.
The Cheltenham Festival
Before the Grand National, the Cheltenham Festival will help to wet the whistle of race fans with an action-packed four-day meeting. Taking place each March in the Gloucestershire town of Cheltenham, this event marks the start of England’s National Hunt jump racing season.
Unlike many other venues, Cheltenham Racecourse has two different tracks and both are used over the space of the four days. This creates a lot of variances and excitement over the week, with no two races being the same.
The Cheltenham Festival is usually held on or near St Patrick’s Day, so it is very popular among Irish horse racing fans who make the trip across the Irish Sea to revel in the festivities and enjoy their shared passion for the ponies.
Horse racing is just as important to Americans as it is to the Brits, and the Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious event in the United States.
This race, which is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky usually takes place each May. Its special place in the hearts of American horse racing fans is helped by the fact that it is the only event to have run interrupted since it began back in the 19th century. The 2022 running of the Kentucky Derby will be 148th and will take place on the 7th May.
In addition to this, only successful horses can meet the entry criteria for the event through a series known as the Road to the Kentucky Derby. There is also a restriction that prevents a runner from entering more than once, meaning each horse has only one chance at taking the prestigious blanket of roses that is thrown over the winner.
The Melbourne Cup is the Australian equivalent to the Grand National and Kentucky Derby. It is so important to the state of Victoria that the day of the race is designated as a public holiday.
It usually takes place much later in the year than the other races because of Australia’s location in the southern hemisphere. That means race fans can be sure that the entire year will be packed with headline races of this calibre.
Run over 3.2 kilometres, the Melbourne Cup is even older than the Kentucky Derby, with the first event taking place back in 1861. The event is mostly run by horses from Australia and New Zealand, though there are some entrants from outside of the Oceania region, in fact, it has even been won by five horses from the UK, four from Ireland, four from the USA.