Horse racing is enjoying a big boom in the United Kingdom, with the most popular meetings regularly attracting sell-out crowds to watch the action.
The likes of the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival also provide their respective geographical regions with a huge financial boost in industries such as tourism and hospitality.
Read on as we take a look at four of the top horse racing meetings held each year in the UK.
The Cheltenham Festival
Staged every March, the Festival offers over £4 million in prize money, including £575,000 for the top event – the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
It is the highlight of the jumps season in the UK and Ireland, with the finest horses, jockeys, trainers and owners battling to etch their name into racing folklore.
The Jockey Club has reported that research by the University of Gloucester values the Festival’s contribution to the local economy at around £100m per year.
Over the course of four days, the meeting attracts around 250,000 spectators, employs 5,000 staff and sells more than 10,000 bottles of champagne.
The Grand National
The Grand National is a major sporting institution in the UK and it is also hugely important to the economy in the Liverpool area.
Hosted annually at Aintree during April, the race is a handicap steeplechase over four miles 514 yards with 40 horses jumping 30 fences over two laps of the course.
It is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1m on offer. Aintree has been described as ‘the ultimate test of horse and rider’ with fences like Becher’s Brook and The Chair famous around the world.
Local tourist board officials have put the value of the meeting to the Merseyside hospitality economy at over £10m, while Aintree itself turns over in excess £30m over the three day event.
The highlight of the summer flat racing programme, Royal Ascot is one of the largest horse racing events in the UK, generating some impressive statistics.
It’s the UK’s most attended meeting, hosting around 300,000 people over the duration of the five-day festival.
Financial results for Ascot Racecourse were released in 2017 that showed a pre-tax rise in profits from £4.4m to £5.1m, as well as a £1.2m per annum increase in prize money.
Those figures made Royal Ascot the most valuable meeting in Britain, with £6.5m in prize money available – with each day worth at least £1m.