July Festival Tips

Looking for the latest news and tips for the July Meeting? Our team of experts will cover every race during Newmarket’s premier summer Festival, reporting any breaking news, betting developments and providing expert insight into the 2019 July Meeting.

Day One Tips

1:50pm Bahrain TrophyEAGLES BY DAYGET 9/4 HERE
2:25pm July StakesKING NEPTUNEGET 14/1 HERE
3:00pm bet365 HandicapMAGICAL WISHGET 12/1 HERE
3:35pm Princess Of Wales’s StakesMASARGET 6/5 HERE
4:05pm Maiden StakesDAILY TIMESGET 9/2 HERE
4:40pm Sir Henry Cecil StakesTURGENEVGET 11/4 HERE
5:10pm John Deere & Ben Burgess HandicapWINGS OF TIMEGET 4/1 HERE

2019 July Cup Tips

It’s easy to see why Advertise heads the Newmarket betting, after his return to top form in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. The beaten favourite that day was TEN SOVEREIGNS, who failed to live up to the hype with a rather limp display. The betting suggests the bookies have lost faith in Aidan O’Brien’s colt, which is rather unfair on the back of just one understandably poor outing and he looks the most dangerously overpriced contender in this year’s July Cup.

2019 July Meeting Day One Tips

Plenty went wrong at the start of the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot for returning Epsom Derby hero MASAR who stumbled badly and almost unseated James Doyle leaving the stalls; but the pair recovered and remained competitive until well inside the final furlong before a lack of fitness told late on.

Charlie Appleby’s charge ought to prove a lot sharper for that reappearance, and while there is a slight worry that this outing could come too soon less than three weeks on from those exertions, if he is none the worse for that reappearance effort and can build on the run then he could take plenty of beating here.

More Day One Tips

All of the previous four Bahrain Trophy winners took part in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. EAGLES BY DAY stayed on beyond Private Secretary and Pablo Escobar to place third in that Group Two and I think Michael Bell’s charge has an excellent chance of claiming a first major victory as he drops down in class on Thursday.

It was a performance of budding maturity in a race much deeper and more competitive than this. Eagles By Day really enjoyed the firm ground when winning nicely at Salisbury at the start of the year and this trip seems to be ideal. Michael Bell has a solid record at the July Meeting and Danny Tudhope, one of the stand-out jockeys at Royal Ascot, has been operating at a near-30% strike rate ever since. Eagles By Day looks a good-thing to me!

Day Two Tips

1:50pm bet365 HandicapALLMANKINDGET 16/1 HERE
2:25pm Duchess Of Cambridge StakesDAAHYEHGET 13/8 HERE
3:00pm bet365 TrophyBEN VRACKIEGET 11/4 HERE
3:35pm Falmouth StakesBESHAAYIRGET 4/1 HERE
4:10pm Maiden StakesAL SUHAILSP

More Day Two Tips

3:00pm bet365 Trophy (Heritage Handicap) 1m6f

It will be very interesting to see how King’s Advice gets on after his winning run came to an end in the Northumberland Plate and it’s also worth watching the progressive Outbox very closely. Both appeal at each-way prices, yet, the stage looks set for BEN VRACKIE (NAP) to prove his class in the inaugural running on this staying handicap.

Unraced as a two-year-old, John Gosden waited until July last year to hand Ben Vrackie his stable debut. Gosden’s imposing colt got off the mark at the third time of asking with a superb 11-length triumph on the all-weather at Kempton, before following up with a narrow defeat to Maid Up in the Group Three March Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Ben Vrackie then made his reappearance in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes and, although he was defeated by Baghdad, Gosden’s colt ran a sensational race. A sluggish start saw Frankie Dettori’s mount sitting miles off the pace, treading a path some five horse widths off the rail for much of that mile-and-a-half trip. Few horses made up ground from such an unfavourable position during the entire meeting, but Ben Vrackie picked up brilliantly, powering home down the centre of the track, coming within a head of upsetting Mark Johnston’s favourite.

This four-year-old son of Frankel clocked an RPR of 109 on his final start as a three-year-old and managed an even more impressive mark of 113 when second at Ascot. This suggests Ben Vrackie could still be well-handicapped running off his official rating of 104 and I expect the favourite to score nicely over this extended trip.

The Moët & Chandon July Festival

Once the historic Epsom Derby meeting and the glitz and glamour of Royal Ascot have come and gone, Newmarket opens their famous gates to the public in the second week of July, hosting their popular The Moët & Chandon July Festival.

There are two racetracks inside the confines of Newmarket racecourse. The Rowley Mile is more celebrated, staging races like the 2000 and 1000 Guineas. The July Festival, however, will be held on the July course and a handful of top honours will be up for grabs during the three-day meeting.

Day one at the July Festival is recognised as Ladies Day, where female racegoers are encouraged to wear their finest garments and enter various style pageants. The Bahrain Trophy gets the action on the track underway, before the Arqana July Stakes and the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes provide entrants with the chance to claim a lucrative, Group Two prize.

Feel Good Friday starts with a bang, with the Silver Bunbury Cup preceding the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes. The headline race on day two at Newmarket is the Group One Falmouth Stakes – a one mile contest which has been won by some of the sport’s finest fillies, including Sonic Lady, Soviet Song and Goldikova.

The third and final day of the July Festival opens up with the Superlative Stakes and the Bunbury Cup, two excellent races which provide a thrilling prelude to the main event of the meeting – the July Cup.

This historic sprint was first staged in 1876 and often attracts the fastest and finest sprinters from around the world. The ITV Racing team will be situated in Newmarket to capture this prestigious Group One and all the big races during the July Meeting. It truly is an event not to be missed.

2019 July Festival Dates

Two Group Ones headline the three-day Festival. Saturday’s July Cup is the premier race of Newmarket’s meeting, with Friday’s Falmouth Stakes boasting an impressive roll of honour of its own.

Four Group Twos will be up for grabs during the July Festival, with the Arqana July Stakes remaining one of the most important two-year-old contests during the season. The Group Three Bahrain Trophy will give St Leger hopefuls the chance to impress, with the Listed Henry Cecil stakes another major race during the July Festival.

Saturday’s Bunbury Cup is the biggest handicap of the meeting, along with the bet365 Heritage Handicap. July Festival dates watchers will notice another bet365 Handicap Stakes has been inserted into the July Festival and will occupy the penultimate slot on day two.

The ITV Racing team will be in attendance at Newmarket to capture the best of the action during all three July Festival dates, making the 2018 July Festival an event you really can’t afford to miss.

Thursday 11th July – Ladies’ Day

13:50 Bahrain Trophy (Group 3) (3yo) 1m5f

14:25 ARQANA July Stakes (Group 2) (2yo) 6f

15:00 bet365 Handicap Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 6f

15:35 Princess of Wales’s ARQANA Racing Club Stakes (Group 2) 1m4f

16:10 British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (Plus 10) (Class 2) 6f

16:45 Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes (Listed) (3yo) 1m

17:20 Saeed Suhail Saeed Handicap Stakes (Class 2) 5f

Friday 12th July – Feel Good Friday

13:50 bet365 (Silver Bunbury Cup) Handicap Stakes (Class 2) 7f

14:25 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) 6f

15:00 bet365 Handicap Stakes (Class 2) (3yo) 1m2f

15:35 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (Group 1) (British Champion Series) 1m

16:10 Weatherbys British EBF Maiden Stakes (Plus 10) (Class 3) (2yo) 7f

16:45 Handicap Stakes (Class 2) 1m6f

17:20 Saeed Suhail Saeed Handicap Stakes (Class 3) 1m

Saturday 13th July – July Cup Day

13:05 bet365 Superlative Stakes (Group 2) (2yo) 7f

13:40 bet365 Bunbury Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 7f

14:15 Darley July Cup (Group 1) (British Champion Series) 6f

14:50 Rossdales British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (Plus 10) (Class 2) 7f

15:20 bet365 Mile Handicap Stakes (Class 2) (3yo) 1m

15:55 Spa at Bedford Lodge British EBF Fillies’ Handicap Stakes (Class 2) (3yo) 7f

16:30 Saeed Suhail Saeed Handicap Stakes (Class 3) 1m4f

2017 Falmouth Stakes Replay

2017 July Cup Replay

Upcoming Festivals

July and August have plenty more great racing events, and our team will be with you for every single one, delivering our usual exhaustive range of free tips.

Pegasus World Cup Tips

We’ll be bringing you tips and betting predictions ahead of the 2019 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

2019 Pegasus World Cup Preview

Check back this December for our preview of the 2019 race.

Pegasus World Cup Tips & Predictions

There are no tips available at this time.

Pegasus World Cup

The Pegasus World Cup is a recent entry into the world of competitive horse racing, having had its inaugural running at the Gulfstream Park in Florida in January 2017. pIt was created to fill in the ‘gap’ between the major horse racing events in North America.


The prize purse for the Pegasus World Cup makes it the richest horse race in the world. In 2017 the prize purse was a hefty $12 million, rising to $16 million in 2018.

Gulfstream Park

With an attached club and casino, Gulfstream Park is one of the most luxurious racecourses in the US. The Park originally opened in 1939, and has been running major events in the Unites States ever since, including the Florida Derby.

It’s a one and one-eighth mile course (dirt) or one mile (turf) course, shaped as an oval. Due to the variable weather conditions in Florida, course conditions can be anything from soft to firm.

Notable Pegasus World Cup winners

The first Pegasus World Cup was won in 2017 by the Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate, the then current holder of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In 2018 the 2017 ‘American Horse of the Year’ and also winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic Gun Runner took first spot – the horse’s final event before it retired to stud.

What are the next horse racing events?

There are plenty of major racing festivals coming up in the next few months, click the links below to see our tipsters previews and early tips.

Japan Cup Tips

Our tipsters will share free tips ahead of the 2018 Japan Cup, check back here in October for our full preview and early tips.

2018 Japan Cup Preview

Preview not available at this time.

Japan Cup Betting Tips

Tips not available at this time.

The Japan Cup

On the last Sunday of November each year at the Tokyo Racecourse, one of the most prestigious races held in Japan is competed for. The Japan Cup, as the race is known, is one of the richest races in world, nearing the Melbourne Cup and the Dubai World Cup in terms of prize money. The race is run over a distance close to twelve furlongs (1.5 miles, 2400m) and is for three-year-olds and up.


The total prize money for the race is now over $5 million (around £3.75 million or ¥625 million), with the winning horse trotting away with $2.5 million. There are several bonuses too, added to the purse to attract the cream of foreign-based horses.

For example, a horse that wins both the Dubai World Cup and the Japan Cup acquires a bonus of ¥80 million ($0.7 million/£0.5 million).

Tokyo Racecourse

Based in Fuchu and owned by the Japan Racing Association, Tokyo Racecourse is generally regarded as the most important racetrack in Japan. It was constructed in 1933 and now, since being redeveloped in 2007, it has a capacity of 223,000 (13,750 seated). The course is turf, with a left-handed, oval track. Conditions are typically good, dependent upon the weather.

Notable Japan Cup Winners

No horse has ever won the Japan Cup twice. The inaugural meeting in 1981 was won by Mairzy Doates of the USA. Irish-based horse Stanerra was the first European winner in 1983, and one year later the first Japanese horse to win the race – Katsuragi Ace – came home in first place. Japanese horses have now won every race since 2005.

Upcoming horse racing festivals

December has a number of big racing festivals, and our expert team will be sharing free tips and predictions for all the major races.

ITV Racing Tips

Get free betting tips and advice on all the live races on ITV and ITV4 today.

Racing on ITV & ITV4

ITV Racing is the number one horse racing broadcaster on terrestrial television. Ever since purchasing the rights from Channel 4 at the start of 2017, ITV Racing’s team of presenters and analysts have been bringing us live coverage of huge racing events like Royal Ascot, the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival.

Free tips on today’s ITV racing

Every Saturday, and for all the major horse racing meeting, ITV Racing hits our screens to provide viewers with top-quality coverage. This ITV Racing tips page will be updated on a daily basis, as our experts cast their eye through all of that week’s televised races and publish their tips, breaking news and betting suggestions.

You can also see our tipsters NAP of the day and all of our teams horse racing tips for the other races having

Leopardstown Christmas Festival Tips

Get all of our betting tips for every day at 2019 Christmas Festival at Leopardstown Racecourse.

Savills Christmas Chase Tips

Presenting Percy is a quality operator destined for the top and Bellshill’s 100% reappearance record also makes him a likely challenger. No horse, however, has won in the Savills Chase on their first start of the season since this race was handed Grade One status in 2002 and the race-fit ROAD TO RESPECT looks primed to retain his crown.

I was so impressed with the way Road To Respect, and Sean Flanagan, conducted themselves in the JNWine Champion Chase. At just seven, Noel Meade’s chaser still looks open to improvement. He’s a course winner, a three-time Grade One victor and the unusually dry autumn we’ve endured should ensure the ground comes up favourably yielding. 4/1 looks a nice price!

Day One Tips

MENGLI KHAN (Evens, Unibet) was a high-class performer over hurdles, winning three times which included the Grade One Royal Bond Hurdle at Fairyhouse, and Gordon Elliott’s Lope De Vega gelding continued to show up well in defeat, including when finishing third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Impressive on his first outing over fences at Punchestown last month, where he ran out a ten lengths’ winner over Forge Meadow, he sets a stiff standard if able to translate his classy hurdling form to this sphere.

This represents no easy task taking on more experienced rivals over fences, but he was the best of these over the smaller obstacles and he looked a potentially top-class recruit to chasing on his winning debut and could easily have more to offer in this sphere; he can improve on his first run and strike again under Davy Russell.Brian’s

Day Two Tips

One of our Day Two tips features on this BANKER IRISH ACCUMULATOR…

Another horse who didn’t enjoy the finest run of form last spring, APPLE’S JADE has returned with a bang at the beginning of this season and Gordon Elliott has clearly got his mare in the shape of her life.

The six-year-old sauntered to success on her reappearance at Navan, before swatting Supasundae and Limini aside to claim a fabled hat-trick of Hatton’s Grace crowns. Apple’s Jade had plenty to prove when she entered this race last term, but managed to prove her quality and staying ability with a fine battling victory over the ever-game Supasundae.

I would be surprised if Supasundae was left over three miles, as shorter trips seem to be his preferred dish. Faugheen has suffered defeat on the two previous occasions he has raced at Leopardstown and Benie Des Dieux – who defeated Apple’s Jade twice last term – couldn’t have been handed a more difficult task on her seasonal reappearance. Apple’s Jade looks a good thing.

Day Three Tips

While I feel Road To Respect will win the Savills Chase, the classy and consistent SHATTERED LOVE makes a strong case for each-way selection.

Gordon Elliott’s mare is race-fit, having finished second in two big races over two-and-a-half mile. She won the three-mile Neville Hotels Novice Chase last term and has proven herself at the highest level, winning the JLT at the Cheltenham Festival. 12/1 is an each-way price not to be passed up.

Day Four Tips

Samcro looks to have an excellent chance of getting off the mark this season. That being said, Gordon Elliott’s seasonal objective is to get his charge ready for the Champion Hurdle. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if he were beaten into second again and the one who I will be backing on day four at Leopardstown is MELON.

2018 Leopardstown Christmas Festival

Ireland’s festive horse racing calendar revolves around the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, one of the most popular meetings in all of National Hunt racing.

For four, action-packed days, the best jumps horse in Ireland will compete in range of top-quality contests. Our experts will provide you with tips for all of the major races, including the Savills Chase, the Ryanair Hurdle and the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle.

When is the Christmas Festival?

The 2018 Christmas Festival takes place over four days at Leopardstown Racecourse, starting on December 26th and finishing on December 29th.

Leopardstown Christmas Chase Previous Winners

Widely regarded as the best horse never to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup, Beef Or Salmon dominated the early years of this Grade One. He’s since been followed into the Leopardstown winners’ enclosure by some of Ireland’s finest chasers, like Exotic Dancer and Synchronised.Best Mate was the first British horse to triumph in the Christmas Chase, beating Beef Or Salmon in 2004. He’s since been joined on the roll of honour by several of his countrymen, including the great Denman, who went on to win the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival later in the season.

2018 …

2017 Road To Respect

2016 Outlander

2015 Don Poli

2014 Road To Riches

2013 Bobs Worth

2012 Tiday Bay

2011 Synchronised

2010 Pandorama

2009 What A Friend

2008 Exotic Dancer

2007 Denman

2006 The Listener

2005 Beef Or Salmon

2004 Best Mate

2003 Beef Or Salmon

2002 Beef Or Salmon

Preakness Stakes Tips

The 2019 instalment of the famous Preakness Stakes will take place on the 18th of May, our experts will share their free tips and predictions ahead of the race.

2019 Preakness Stakes Preview

Our preview of the 2019 Preakness Stakes will be available in April.

Preakness Stakes Betting Tips

Preakness Stakes tips are not available at this time.

Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes forms the second event in what is known as the ‘Triple Crown’ of US horse racing, the other events being the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. It is typically held each year on the third Saturday in May, at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. This Grade I race is for three years olds and runs over a short distance of nine and a half furlongs.

The event actually predates the more lucrative Kentucky Derby by two years, being first run in 1873. The race has been held without fail each year aside from a break between 1891 and 1893 inclusive.

The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans

This race is known informally as The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans. This is because the traditional wreath that is placed around the winner’s neck is made from yellow flowers in order to resemble the Maryland State flower, known as the black-eyed Susan.

Stage 2 of the Triple Crown

As mentioned above, the Preakness Stakes is the second event in the US thoroughbred triple crown, run two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. Any horse that wins both events and the Belmont Stakes in June goes down in history as a Triple Crown Winner.

Pimlico Race Course

Opened as long ago as 1870, the Pimlico Race Course is named in honour of the Olde Ben Pimlico’s Tavern, in London, and is owned by the Maryland Jockey Club. It has staged every running of the Preakness Stakes. The Race Course has survived many unfortunate events during its history, including 1904’s Great Fire of Baltimore, and the US Depression in the 1930s.

Notable Preakness Stakes Winners

The record margin of victory – a stunning eleven and a half lengths – was set by Smarty Jones in 2004. No horse has ever won the Preakness Stakes on more than one occasion. The legendary Secretariat owns the speed record for the race, romping home in 1973 in one minute and fifty-three seconds.

Eddie Arcaro is the most successful jockey in the event, winning six times between 1941 and 1957.

What are the next racing events?

Looking for more free tips? Check out our daily horse racing tips – packed with analysis and betting advice on every meeting that day.

Welsh Grand National Tips

Check back here in December for our full preview and free betting tips ahead of the 2018 Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.

2018 Welsh Grand National Preview

I’ve long thought the Welsh Grand National would be ideal for MS PARFOIS. Despite finishing 40 lengths behind Sizing Tennessee, I wasn’t too disappointed with her run in the Ladbrokes Trophy. The going description may have read soft, but Anthony Honeyball’s mare needs it much more testing than that and she travelled well before running out of steam down the home straight.

The handicapper’s decision not to up her rating at all during the spring means she travels to Chepstow on a workable mark. Wins around Cheltenham and Newbury makes you think the testing track here at Newbury will hold no fears for Ms Parois and stats for horses running on their second start after a wind operation add another positive to her name.

Welsh Grand National

First run in 1895, the Welsh Grand National is a Grade 3 National Hunt race that’s run at Chepstow Racecourse every year, typically just after Christmas Day. It’s run over three miles and five and a half furlongs and is for horses aged four years and above.

The race was first run at Ely Racecourse in Cardiff, but was forced to find a new home after the closure of this course in 1939. It moved to Caerleon, close to Newport, in 1948, and to its present home of Chepstow one year later.

It has taken place every year since, aside from 1969, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1995 and 1996 when cancelled due to poor weather conditions. It was also delayed until January because of course condition in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2017.

Chepstow Racecourse

Chepstow is one of the most well-known racecourses in the UK, and is the leading racecourse in Wales. It opened in 1926, although racing close to the course had been organised from as early as 1892. The course fell into financial difficulties almost immediately but survived, then survived being taken over by the RAF during the Second World War.

Chepstow returned to normal service as a racecourse in 1949, and was immediately handed the running of the Welsh Grand National.

Greatest Welsh Grand National Winners

1. Burrough Hill Lad

Undoubtedly the greatest ever winner of the Welsh Grand National and the second entrant trained by the legendary trainer Jenny Pitman, Burrough Hill Lad claimed Chepstow glory in the winter of 1983, as he justified favouritism with a dominant display.

Burrough Hill Lad then travelled to Cheltenham as the horse to beat in the Gold Cup. Regular jockey, John Francombe elected to ride market rival, Brown Chamberlain, which proved to be a terrible decidision, as Phil Tuck guided Burrough Hill Lad to a tremendous success in Cheltenham’s showpiece event.

Many horses found winning difficult after claiming Gold Cup glory, but not Burrough Hill Lad. Pitman’s stable star won the Charlie Hall Chase on his reappearance the following season. He then scored in the Hennessy Gold Cup carrying 12-00 on his back, before rounding off a monumental year with a sparkling victory in the 1984 King George at Kempton.

Next Racing Festivals

Only two horses have managed to win the Welsh Grand National on more than one occasion – that being Limonali in 1959 and 1961, and the Martin Pipe-trained Bonanza Boy in 1988 and 1989. Rag Trade won the race in 1976, the same year it won the Grand National run at Aintree.Peter Scudamore is the most successful jockey at the Welsh Grand National, winning on Run and Skip in 1985, the afore-mentioned Bonanza Boy in 1988 and 1989, and Carvill’s Hill in 1991.

Kentucky Derby Tips

We have tips and predictions ahead of the 2019 Kentucky Derby, which takes place on Saturday 4th of May.

2019 Kentucky Derby Preview

Preview is unavailable at this time.

Kentucky Derby Betting Tips & Predictions

Tips are unavailable at this time.

Kentucky Derby Festival

Synonymous with horse racing in the United States, the Kentucky Derby Festival is the annual festival of racing held each year in May, at the Churchill Downs racecourse, Louisville, Kentucky. Plenty of both racing events and non-racing events are held, including the Kentucky Derby itself – one of the richest races in the USA, and certainly the most well-known.

Other events include the impressive ‘Thunder Over Louisville’ fireworks display, the Kentucky Derby Marathon and miniMarathon, the Pegasus Parade and the Great Balloon Race. While the Kentucky Derby itself has been run since 1875, the associated festival has only been a regular event since 1935.

The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby actually has its origins in England. Colonel Merriweather Lewis Clark Jr was visiting Epsom in Surrey in 1872, where he witnessed the Epsom Derby. Later, Clark visited France and spoke with members of the newly-formed French Jockey Club. Once back home in Kentucky, Clark formed the Louisville Jockey Club and financed the building of Churchill Downs racetrack. He then helped organise the first Kentucky Derby in 1875.

The Kentucky Derby has now been run on a continual basis since then, even without interruption for either World War.

The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports

Over its history, the Kentucky Derby has become known as The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. The race is run over a short course of only ten furlongs (one and a quarter miles), meaning that the leading horses cover the distance in as little as two minutes. The speed record is held by the legendary Secretariat, who broke the two-minute barrier in 1973.

Stage One of the Triple Crown

The Triple Crown in US racing is awarded to any three-year-old thoroughbred horse who wins three of the leading flat races in the Unites States each year. The Kentucky Derby is the first of these races to be held, in May. The Preakness Stakes is also held in May, and the Belmont Stakes is held in June. As of 2018, thirteen horses have achieved the Triple Crown.

Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs racecourse was expressly conceived and built for the running of the Kentucky Derby. Land was purchased by the Louisville Jockey Club for the course in 1873 from John and Henry Churchill, after whom the track is named. Churchill Downs has a staggering capacity of 170,000, and is habitually brimming with people for the running of the Derby.

Notable Kentucky Derby Winners

As the Kentucky Derby is a race for three-year-olds only, no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby on more than one occasion. As mentioned above, the course record was set in 1973 by possibly the most famous horse in USA racing history, Secretariat. Justify broke a ‘hoodoo’ in 2018 by winning the Derby having never run as a two-year-old – something not achieved since Apollo in 1882.

The record margin of victory is eight lengths, set by Old Rosebud in 1914 and since equalled by Johnstown (1939), Whirlaway (1941) and Assault (1946).

Upcoming Festivals

There are three more big festivals on the horizon, including the next leg of the Triple Crown, see what our experts are predicting in the next big races.

King George VI Chase Tips

2018 King George VI Result

? Clan Des Obeaux 12/1
? Thistlecrack 15/2
? Native River 9/2

2018 King George VI Chase Preview

There is plenty of top-class festive fayre to look forward to in the horse racing calendar, with the week between Christmas and New Year packed solid with cracking racing action across the UK and Ireland.

Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival meeting which features multiple Grade One races, the Welsh Grand National and the Rowland Meyrick Chase are just a few of the highlights punters can look forward to; but the undoubted feature of the week goes to post on Boxing Day with the latest renewal of the famous King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Getting underway at 3.05pm, the three-mile contest is sure to serve up another Christmas cracker as some of the biggest names come together to contest this top-class event which boasts a first-prize in excess of £140,000 and the chance to join such luminaries as Cue Card, Silviniaco Conti, Kauto Star, Long Run, Kicking King, Edredon Bleu and Best Mate who have all won this race since the turn of the century.

Tip: Back Thistlecrack for the King George

Perhaps one to take out of the Betfair Chase was THISTLECRACK (9/1, Coral) who won this race in 2016, and Colin Tizzard’s charge made a very pleasing return at Haydock having been out for almost one year through injury.

The 2016 World Hurdle winner won his first four starts over fences, including this race when beating Cue Card prior to losing his unbeaten chase record when denied by a head behind Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase. Oliver Sherwood’s Grand National winner sadly died soon after the race, and nothing can be taken away from the gutsy winner; Thistlecrack however was found to have sustained an injury in the heat of battle, while a relatively busy novice campaign may just have taken the edge from him.

He shaped well in this race last term following a dismal return over hurdles in the Long Distance Hurdle, beaten around six lengths having ultimately surrendered all chance of successfully defending his crown with a mistake at the second last fence.

Having now had a pipe-opener in the Betfair Chase where he posted a satisfactory comeback to finish third, he could well build on that and he remains one to be interested in. He didn’t always jump with fluency at Haydock, and he was deliberate at his fences on more than one occasion; but he showed more than enough to suggest most of his old ability remains intact, and he probably still has more to offer over fences.

King George VI Chase Star Rating Guide

With question marks against many of the established three miles, backing an up-and-coming stayer could be the way to go. Waiting Patiently is one of the two leading candidates stepping up and has been well supported in recent weeks. I, however, prefer the chances of Politologue and he’s going to be my five-star selection in the 2018 King George.

Paul Nicholls’ stunning grey has always been a classy operator, I just feared he didn’t have the battling qualities towards the end of a race you need to be a true champion. Those notions, however, dissipated at Aintree in the Melling Chase, where Politologue battled back valiantly after being headed by Min at the last to claim his second Grade One win of the campaign.

That triumph meant Politologue had to shoulder a penalty in the 1965 Christy Chase, but that didn’t stop Sam Twiston-Davies mount from outjumping his rivals and staying strong as Charbel – who boosted the form in the Peterborough Chase last weekend – to score at Ascot. While he may not produce that much off the bridle, Politologue tanks through his races and – if he has the leaders within his sights jumping the last – he could be this year’s king of Kempton.

2018 King George Confirmed Runners

Few were surprised when Altior was removed from the running, but Nicky Henderson still has high hopes in this year’s King George, with defending champion Might Bite heading the list of confirmed runners submitted this afternoon. Might Bite remained at the head of the betting, despite losing by 30 lengths in the Betfair Chase and he can be found as short as 5/2 to retain his crown with Ladbrokes.

Two-and-a-half-miles specialists, Waiting Patiently and Politologue will have their first crack at 24 furlongs in the King George and both have been backed in recent weeks, with Ladbrokes listing the pair as 9/2 joint-second favourites. Two-time Betfair Chase winner, Bristol De Mai then sits fourth in the betting, with Thistlecrack jumping ahead of his Gold Cup winning stablemate, Native Riversince their runs at Haydock.

Clan Des Obeaux is fancied by some to run a good race, with Ladbrokes listing Paul Nicholls second runner at odds of 14/1. Last year’s surprise runner-up, Double Shuffle sits near the bottom of the betting, alongside the two remaining British runners, Coneygree and Tea For Two.

Pat Kelly’s threat to send Presenting Percy to Kempton hasn’t come to fruition, as he – along with practically all of his Irish counterparts – have withdrawn their runners from the race. The only possible raider from the Emerald Isle is Shattered Love, but Ladbrokes’ odds of 20/1 suggest Gordon Elliott’s mare will not take her chance in Kempton’s Boxing Day bonanza.

King George VI Chase

Run over three-miles, the King George is renowned for being one of the most prestigious jump racing prizes of the campaign and frequently acts as the leading trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup raced in March. Britain and Ireland’s leading steeplechasers routinely collide for the first time each season in Kempton’s Grade One highlight as the division seeks to position itself ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in the spring.

Founded in 1937 in honour of a new British monarch, the King George VI Chase offers a unique test to the National Hunt chaser. A total of eighteen fences on Kempton’s right-handed track ensures it is a real test of stamina, speed and jumping. The flat nature of the course can be deceiving to some connections with many claiming the emphasis of the King George is placed more on pace than the ability to see out the trip.

Previous winners of the great Boxing Day showpiece include Kauto Star, Desert Orchid and Wayward Lad, three of the greatest horses in National Hunt history. The Paul Nicholls-trained Kauto Star went on to win the King George on five separate occasions in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. It was a feat regarded as amongst the best in the sport’s history and produced scenes of great jubilation at the Middlesex track across a six year spell.

Kempton Park Racecourse

Kempton Park lies on the border of Greater London, and is the scene for the King George VI Chase, as well as notable races such as the Feltham Novices’ Chase and the BetBright Chase, amongst others.

The main track features an all-weather synthetic track, while the flat races take place on the mile long Jubilee Course.

Kauto Star – Kempton Legend

Kauto Star possessed a tremendous attitude for the test that the King George provided. The gelded son of Village Star jumped with real fluency over the 18 obstacles before utilising his superior stamina and speed to see off his rivals on five different occasions.

It is Kauto Star’s success that makes the King George such a great viewing spectacle both on and off course. The horse brought the sport into the mainstream during his racing career which ensured a memorable atmosphere for all in attendance.

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Melbourne Cup Tips

2018 Melbourne Cup Betting Tips

Liam Howley’s HOMESMAN ran a blinder behind Best Solution in the Caulfield Cup. Ben Melham didn’t have to work too hard to grab a prominent position from an inside draw and tracked Best Solution’s move as the eventual winner kicked for home. Homesman matched Best Solution stride-for-stride, pulling upsides Pat Cosgrave’s mount at the 50m mark and was only denied victory on the bob of a head.

That was a career best display from the former Ballydoyle inmate over 12 furlongs, who’s best runs until then had come over shorter trips. Howley has been steadily stepping Homesman up in trip since he made the switch from Aidan O’Brien’s stable and he gained some valuable experience here at Flemington back in March, losing out by just two lengths in the Australia Cup.

Since then, Homesman has run in four Group Ones, winning the Underwood Stakes last month before crossing the line four lengths adrift of Benbatl in the Ladbrokes Stakes. Two miles is completely unknown territory for the Lloyd Williams-owned colt and his breeding doesn’t scream out stayer. Despite that, Homesman has been running well at a high level all season and will have the pace to capitalise should the Melbourne Cup become a tactical affair.

2018 Melbourne Cup Final Field

The draw for this year’s Melbourne Cup will be made on Saturday 3rd November, three days before the main event!

Melbourne Cup

For over one hundred and fifty years now the Melbourne Cup has been the most famous race for thoroughbreds in Australia. It’s a two mile race (or, to be exact, 3.2 kilometres as Australia fully adopted the metric system in 1972) for horses aged three years old and over.

The prize money for this cash-laden race now stands at A $7.3 million, which is around £4 million or $5.4 million, making the Melbourne Cup one of the richest horse races in the world.

The race that stops a nation

Although now twelve yards short of an official two mile race, the Melbourne Cup is still unofficially recognised as the richest ‘two mile’ handicap in the world. The prize money has practically doubled over the past twenty years, plus the winning owner gets to take home the historic Melbourne Cup itself, a trophy manufactured from 18-carat gold.

Flemington Racecourse

The Melbourne Cup is, understandably, run in Melbourne, at the Flemington Racecourse. This racecourse has been open since 1960, and hosts both flat and steeplechase races. It has a capacity of 120,000 spectators, and as well as the Melbourne Cup hosts the Victoria Derby and the Newmarket Handicap.

2017 Melbourne Cup Replay

Melbourne Cup – Past Winners

Makbye Diva – owned by Tony Dantic and trained by David Hall and Lee Freedman, is the only horse to have won the Melbourne Cup three times, doing so in 2003, 2004 and 2005. She retired in 2005 as the highest-ever earner in Australian racing history with A$14 million.

Three horses have won the race twice – Archer (1861, 1862), Peter Pan (1932, 1934), Rain Lover (1968, 1969) and Think Big (1974, 1979).

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