My first love is football, however, to be honest, I would follow all sports, even the most obscure. I’m not quite sure why sport is so utterly fascinating to me, but give me any sporting competition, and I’m in. Perhaps it’s the sheer energy and tenacity of the sportsmen and women, maybe the fact that I forget all about my own worries when I am watching sports and possibly just the beauty of athletic performance.
Usually, I stumble upon a new sport and I’m hooked straight away. Immediately, I want to know the names of the main competitors, their stories of success and failure and how they measure up against each other. In some ways, it’s the different personalities involved that hold my attention and make me look up and throw myself into a whole new sporting passion.
It’s was much the same when I started watching horseracing. I watched one race, and have been into horse racing ever since. When you look at horse racing in Great Britain and Ireland, you want to know what the most popular festivals are and be there to follow all the action.
The three festivals I’ve picked attract thousands upon thousands of live spectators and enormous TV audiences, and if you want to get into horse racing, make sure to tune in and follow the action.
The Grand National
Everyone in Britain and Ireland tunes into the Grand National each April, even those who would normally never follow horse racing. The first Grand National was held in 1839, and today, the Grand National is the most popular horse racing event in Europe. It’s a 4-mile steeplechase race, featuring 30 exceedingly high fences and over thirty horses and jockeys.The prize money is a whopping £1 million and the Grand National is also known as “bookies Christmas” because just about everyone has a little flutter. The course is located at Aintree, near Liverpool and if you are interested in having a look, you need to tune in on 8 April, or preferably start studying the odds and pick your winner during the days running up to this, the most popular, horse race.
Second, only to the Grand National, the Cheltenham Festival is on in March each year over four days, featuring a variety of races and special cups. Like the Grand National, everyone tunes into Cheltenham and newspaper and radio/TV programs are packed with predictions, tips and odds for each and everyone race. It’s fascinating to observe the incredible and growing appeal of Cheltenham. This year, race organizers have predicted an attendance of over 250’000, that’s an average of 62’500 per day.
Bookmakers have perfected the art of attracting punters by making tips available and sharing their expertise online. You can get predictions on all the races held each day, even down to the most intricate detail.
Let’s say, you happen to be off work on day 2. All you need to do is check out Cheltenham day 2 betting offers and straightaway you’ll be an expert and know every horse and every jockey. While some people take their betting very seriously, both Cheltenham and the Grand National attract bets from the uninformed and uninitiated who just bet for a bit of fun.
The Galway Races
For something a little different and decidedly charming, you will have to tune into the Galway Races, held on the West Coast of Ireland each August. The Galway Races, a week-long festival, combine fun, flutters and partying into a medley of Irish charm and enthusiasm. The attendances are enormous, the races top class and the fun to be had quite unbelievable.
Irish horses, trainers, and jockey have long played a central role in horse racing with many a Grand National and Cheltenham winner – horse, jockey or trainer-stemming from the green isle.
As for me, horse racing is another sport to be hooked on and I am confident you’ll be just as taken as I am.