The dust has barely had time to settle on Britain’s 2021-22 National Hunt racing season, with the Jump Finale having only taken place at Sandown Park recently, but there is no time for hindsight or for racegoers to rest on their laurels — as the 2022 flat campaign officially gets underway this weekend.
It promises to be another fantastic six months or so of thrilling racing, with plenty of top-class meetings set to take place between now and the end of the campaign in October — sending the horse racing betting sites UK into overdrive as punters up and down the country scour the internet for the best odds for the likes of Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood.
So, to ensure you never miss a minute of the major meetings, we have put together this guide of key dates for your diary. Read on to find out more!
29 April – 1 May: The Newmarket Guineas
Fans of the flat don’t have long to wait until the first big festival of the new season takes place, with the Newmarket Guineas just a matter of days away. This year’s meeting has been extended to three days for the first time ever, with a seven-race card added on Friday 29th April.
Of course, the main attractions are still the 2000 and 1000 Guineas — which are the first two of the five traditional British Classics. The former, open to three-year-old colts and fillies, will headline the second day at flat racing’s headquarters, while the 1000 Guineas, open to three-year-old fillies only, will take centre stage on day three on May 1st.
3-4 June: The Derby Festival
The Dante Festival at York (11-13 May) and Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes Day at Newbury (14 May) follow shortly after the Guineas, but let’s jump ahead a month to what is the most prestigious meeting on the flat calendar — the Derby Festival at Epsom Downs.
Held on the first weekend of June, the Oaks, the second leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown, is the highlight of the opening day of the meeting before the Derby itself takes place on June 4th. It will be an extra special festival this year, with the official commemoration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee taking place at the course.
14-18 June: Royal Ascot
It will be a busy few weeks for the Queen as Royal Ascot quickly succeeds the Derby Festival. The lucrative meeting takes place for five days in mid-June, with Her Majesty traditionally arriving by carriage on day one, and it is the host to 13 of the flat racing seasons’ 36 Group One contests.
The King’s Stand Stakes, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the Coronation Stakes and the Queen Anne Stake are just some of the biggest races to take place at Royal Ascot. But there are none more prestigious than the Gold Cup, which Hollie Doyle and Trueshan are being backed to win in the horse racing tips from Betdaq.
26 July – 30 July: The Goodwood Festival
Skipping forward to the latter part of July, not to overshadow the likes of the Eclipse and the July Festival, we move on to the flagship event of the picturesque Goodwood Racecourse — five days of thrilling action take place amidst the backdrop of the beautiful, rolling Sussex hills.
Affectionately known as ‘Glorious Goodwood’ by the British public, the scenery isn’t the best part about the meeting — with hugely competitive races taking place for both stayers and sprinters. The Sussex and Nassau Stakes, both Group One contests, are the highlights of the week.
7-10 September: St Leger Festival
Moving on to September, and as the flat season begins to wind down, it’s time for the fifth and final British Classic of the season — the St Leger. The oldest of the five traditional races, having first be run in 1996, the 1m6f contest is the final leg of both Triple Crown and the Fillies’ Triple Crown and its very rare for a horse to win all three.
Charlie Appleby broke his duck in the Group 1 race last year, with Hurricane Lane finally awarding the British trainer with maiden success in the St Leger, and the Godolphin trainer will be looking to make it back-to-back victories in September — as New London is the very early favourite in the ante-post market.
Of course, don’t forget about British Champions Day at Ascot on October 15th. The meeting has acted as the flat season finale since 2011, and sees the finest horses from all over the world go head-to-head in a bid to be crowned the best of their division.
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