Major Flat Race Events In The United Kingdom

The flat race is the most basic and traditional form of horse racing practised in the United Kingdom.
A flat race is run over a predetermined distance on a course without any obstacles; such as hurdles or fences, which are used in National Hunt racing and other jump races. This form of racing tests the stamina and speed of a horse, as well as the jockey's skill to either motivate the horse to speed up or to control its temper. Traditionally executed on turf, a natural grass surface, some race courses offer all-weather races on synthetic surfaces, which safeguards against frost, rain of extreme heat damaging the track and making the race impossible. In the United States flat races are frequently performed on 'dirt' tracks, a custom never employed on European race courses. UK flat races vary in distance from five furlongs (1006 metres) to over two miles (3219 metres), and are subdivided in sprints, middle distance, and stayers races.

The most important flat race events in the United Kingdom include the five Classic Races - the 1,000 Guineas Stakes, the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, the Epsom Oaks, the Epsom Derby, and the St Leger Stakes - which also make up the Triple Crown and the Fillies' Triple Crown competition.

Schedule of Major Flat Racing Events

Here is a list of the major events and when they are scheduled to occur in the British Flat Racing Season.

April/May

1,000 Guineas Stakes

at Newmarket scheduled for late April/early May. One of the Classic Races

2,000 Guineas Stakes

at Newmarket scheduled for late April/early May. One of the Classic Races

Lockinge Stakes

at Newbury in May

June

Epsom Oaks

at Epsom Downs. One of the Classic Races

Epsom Derby

at Epsom Downs. One of the Classic Races

Coronation Cup

at Epsom Downs

Royal Ascot

Established in 1711 by Queen Anne, Ascot racecourse is one of Britain's most historic race tracks. The Royal Ascot Festival, usually a five day event, plays host to seven of the 32 annual Group One races in Great Britain; as well as an additional 14 races of groups two and three.

The seven Group One races at the Royal Ascot are:

  • The King's Stand Stakes - a sprint race (1,006 metres) for horses aged three and over
  • The St. James's Palace Stakes - a middle distance race (1609 metres = one mile) for three-year-old thoroughbred colts
  • The Queen Anne Stakes - a middle distance race over one mile for thoroughbreds aged four and over
  • The Prince of Wales' Stakes - a middle distance race over one mile and two furlongs (2012 metres) for thoroughbreds aged four and over
  • The Ascot Gold Cup - a stayers race over two miles and four furlongs (4,023 metres) for thoroughbreds ages four and over (This event is colloquially known as the 'Ladies' Day')
  • Coronation Stakes - a middle distance race over one mile open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies
  • Golden Jubilee Stakes - a sprint race over six furlongs (1,207 metres) for thoroughbreds aged three and over

July/August

King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes

at Ascot in July

Falmouth Stakes

at Newmarket in July - a one mile race for fillies and mares ages three and older

July Cup

at Newmarket in July - a sprint event for all thoroughbreds aged three and over

Eclipse Stakes

at Sandown in July

Sussex Stakes

at Goodwood in either late July or early August

Nassau Stakes

at Goodwood in either late July or early August

International Stakes

at York in August

Yorkshire Oaks

at York in August

Nunthorpe Stakes

at York in August

September/October

St Leger Stakes

at Doncaster in September. One of the Classic Races

Fillies' Mile

at Ascot in September

Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

at Ascot in September - recently became part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series

Sprint Cup

takes place in Haydock Park every September

Cheveley Park Stakes

at Newmarket in late September/early October, part of the Cambridgeshire Meeting

Middle Park Stakes

at Newmarket in late September/early October, part of the Cambridgeshire Meeting

Sun Chariot Stakes

at Newmarket in late September/early October, part of the Cambridgeshire Meeting

Dewhurst Stakes

at Newmarket in October, part of the Newmarket Champions' Meeting

Champion Stakes

at Newmarket in October, part of the Newmarket Champions' Meeting

Racing Post Trophy

the last Group One flat race of the season, is also held in Doncaster in October

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