This year promises to be another memorable one in the world of horse racing, as the biggest events will once again capture the imagination of not just those that follow the sport daily, but also the mainstream audience. 

The giant races on the calendar will take place across the globe, and below you can find out more about the top three unmissable races on the calendar, and more information about some of the likely key contenders. 

Here are our must-watch races, in a list similar to the one we did in the past.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

For many, the opening months of a new calendar year are all about the jumps action, and the Blue Riband event in the world of National Hunt racing is the featured race of the Cheltenham Festival. 

Few events are able to encapsulate the sport as great as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as a field of the finest chasers on the planet competes over an extended three miles navigating 22 fences. 

This year’s race, which will be staged on Friday, March 17, looks to be one of the most exciting in recent years. 

The standout contender looks to be Galopin des Champs for Willie Mullins, who has lost just once from five chase starts. That defeat was suffered when falling at last in the G1 Turners Novice Chase at the Festival last year. 

Intriguingly, connections have outlined plans for 2022 Grand National winner Noble Yeats to run in the Gold Cup this year, before bidding to retain his National crown at Aintree. 

A Plus Tard is the third choice in the betting, but the defending champion has endured a difficult campaign to this point. British hopes will be pinned on Dan Skelton’s Protektorat, and King George hero Bravemansgame. 

Kentucky Derby

By the time May gets underway, the attention will firmly be on racing in the United States, as this year’s crop of three-year-olds begins their bid for Triple Crown glory. 

Churchill Downs hosts the prestigious opening leg of the series, with the Kentucky Derby taking place on Saturday, May 6. It will be the first time that the field has competed over a distance of 1 ¼ miles, and the picture for the dirt race is already taking shape.

Forte took over at the top of the betting for the Kentucky Derby after an impressive showing in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, as he edged out Bob Baffert’s Cave Rock. 

However, the trainer’s best chance could come in the form of Arabian Knight, a fine seven-length winner over the same weekend at Keeneland.

But, a decision will need to be made regarding Baffert’s runners, as the Hall of Famer is once again banned from making declarations. 

Instant Coffee is a runner that has been going under the radar for Brad Cox, but the three-year-old has already landed victories in two prep races.

You can read how to bet on horses in KD here: twinspires.com/betting-guides/what-do-horse-racing-odds-mean 

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 

There are few more prestigious races in the world of horse racing than the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. This race will be taking place on Sunday, October 1 in 2023, as the field competes over a distance of a mile and three furlongs. 

Alpinista was the hero in the race 12 months ago, as the five-year-old gave Sir Mark Prescott a first victory in the race.

Vadeni appears to be the horse to watch over the early months, as the French-trained runner finished a close second in the Arc in 2022. That was only his four career defeat, with two of which coming at Longchamp. 

Auguste Rodin is highly regarded across Europe, which is evident by the fact that the three-year-old is already the clear second choice in the betting despite making just four career starts. 

A horse well worth keeping an eye on this season with the Arc in mind is Kyprios. The staying star for trainer Aidan O’Brien has won eight from ten starts, which included Group 1 wins at Ascot, Goodwood, and Longchamp in 2022. 

It has been teased that a tilt for the Arc could be on the agenda, but it remains to be seen whether a step back in trip will suit. 


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