After a period during which crowd sizes were either restricted or completely decimated, horse racing is back with a vengeance in 2022 as sports bettors and bookies gear up for what could be a true revival of the sport. The calendar is packed with races that have equestrians drooling, with free bets and betting bonuses flying as fans back the favourites and outsiders for races at Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National and many other top races highlighted below. Here are the best races and meets for racing fans to look forward to in 2022.
All the top jockeys and trainers will be targeting these grade 1 races, as they go in search of prestigious titles and big pots of prize money
Cheltenham Festival – The Gold Cup – 18th March
It is a classic case of the old guard taking on the young pretenders in the 2022 edition of the coveted Gold Cup. Past winners Al Boum Photo and Minella Indo are back in the running, with the latter hoping to register back-to-back triumphs in this, one of the most highly anticipated jumps races of the season. Looking to upset the applecart are horses like Galvin, who already has a win over last year’s runner-up A Plus Tard. Other horses who are well fancied by both online tipsters and betting punters include Protektorat, Tornado Flyer, and Champ.
Grand National – 9th April
The 2021 version of the Grand National was all about the unstoppable Rachael Blackmore, as the Irish jockey combined to perfection with fellow compatriots Henry de Bromhead and J. P. McManus to mastermind a Grand National victory for the ages. The only downer for Irish racing fans was that they had to watch from the comfort of home or the local bookies, because the Aintree stands were empty.
Perhaps that played into the hands of the ice cool Blackmore, who used the eerie quiet to her advantage. Many of the ante post favourites for the Gold Cup also feature high up the odds lines for the Grand National, including Galvin. Other horses backed for greatness include Any Second Now and Run Wild Fred. Meanwhile, Blackmore is likely to ride Minella Times, whose odds hover at around 16/1 or 20/1 at the time of writing, on odds comparison sites like oddschecker.
Royal Ascot – The Other Gold Cup – 16th June
Royal Ascot is one of the most regal events on the racing calendar and its jewel in the crown is the other Gold Cup, where some of the world’s best flats racers do battle. This season’s event will most likely be contested by Trueshan, the evergreen Stradivarious, and the lighting fast Hurricane Lane.
What makes this event super special is the number of celebrities and members of the royal family who turn out to cheer on horses, which in some cases are trained or owned by family or close acquaintances. Other race goers can join high society for the day and gorge themselves on fine food and drink all day long.
Long noses will be entertaining the grandstands throughout the year, on a quest to bring home as many wins as possible before the festive season rolls around
Epsom Derby – 4th June
Billed as the planet’s most prestigious flat race, the Epsom Derby is every bit as impressive as the likes of Royal Ascot. In 2021 it was Adayar who came from nowhere to upset the betting odds on behalf of Godolfin. The horse making all the running in the betting odds ahead of Derby Day is Irish talent Luxembourg, who after a stellar 2021 as a two-year-old is touted for greatness in 2022.
Yorkshire Ebor Festival – Juddmonte International Stakes – 17th August
York racecourse is well worth a trip even if it means trawling all the way up the M1 to get there. In 2022 it will be the 51st time the race has been run. Mishriff took the spoils in 2021, completely blitzing the field by six lengths. Mishriff will be back to defend his title, and racing fans will be hoping he comes up against St Mark’s Basilica.