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Flat Racing Season 2024: A Comprehensive Guide to the Thrilling Horse Racing Season

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The 2024 Flat racing season is hotting up as we head into the height of the summer and Royal Ascot is just around the corner.

With the biggest and best multi-day meetings still yet to come from York, Goodwood, Newmarket, and Ascot itself, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to keep in check with the key dates and horse racing terminology.

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Introduction to the Flat Racing Season

From the history of Flat racing to its worldwide popularity, important dates for your diary to unique regulations, this list will look to describe all the key terms associated with the sport.

What is Flat Racing?

Horse racing has two separate codes under the same umbrella: National Hunt (Jump) and Flat racing. The latter involves no obstacles to and includes races ranging from five furlongs to just under three miles.

The History and Evolution of Flat Racing

Racing in Great Britain dates back to the 17th century with the first Derby taking place in 1780, however, chariot racing, a close relative to the code of Flat Racing that we know today, was an incredibly popular sport in Ancient Greece, Rome, and the Byzantine Empire.

Why Flat Racing is so Popular

Flat racing has become an integral part of the sporting calendar across plenty of countries worldwide; Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong are just some examples. The level of prize money on offer at an international level for the horses competing is incredible, so much so that owners of racehorses continue to buy new horses, increasing the competitiveness of the sport which in turn improves the entertainment level and encourages more fans to come into the sport.

Flat racing season 2024: Important aspects

The Flat Racing turf season seamlessly takes over from the jumps campaign in early spring and continues for a good proportion of the remaining year. Below are the key aspects of the Flat calendar.

When is the Flat Racing season?

Flat racing occurs all year in the UK and Ireland thanks to the use of all-weather tracks, however, the typical Flat Racing season on the turf usually extends from the middle of March until the end of October. The first big day of the UK Flat Season is the Lincoln meeting at Doncaster in late March, with the final big day occurring at the same track in late October with the Futurity Trophy meeting.

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Flat Racing Fixtures 2024 – The Main Events

If you are looking to plan a day at the races this summer and want to take in some of the brilliant tracks across the UK, take a look at the list below to pick out some of the feature days.

Horse racing events – June

  • 1st June – Derby Festival | Derby Day – Epsom
  • 18th June – Day 1: Royal Ascot
  • 19th June – Day 2: Royal Ascot
  • 20th June – Day 3: Royal Ascot
  • 21st June – Day 4: Royal Ascot
  • 22nd June – Day 5: Royal Ascot

Horse racing events – July

  • 11th July – July Festival | Ladies Day – Newmarket
  • 12th July – July Festival | Festival Friday – Newmarket
  • 13th July – July Festival | July Cup Day – Newmarket
  • 27h July – QIPCO King George Diamond Weekend Friday – Ascot
  • 28th July – QIPCO King George Diamond Day – Ascot
  • 30th July – Day 1: Qatar Goodwood Festival
  • 31st July – Day 2: Qatar Goodwood Festival

Horse racing events – August

  • 1st August – Day 3: Qatar Goodwood Festival
  • 2nd August – Day 4: Qatar Goodwood Festival
  • 3rd August – Day 5: Qatar Goodwood Festival
  • 21st August – Day 1: York Ebor Festival
  • 22nd August – Day 2: York Ebor Festival
  • 23rd August – Day 3: York Ebor Festival
  • 24th August – Day 4: York Ebor Festival

Horse racing events – September

  • 5th-7th September – Sprint Cup Celebration – Newmarket
  • 12th-15th September – St Leger Festival – Doncaster
  • 26th-28th September – Cambridgeshire Meeting – Newmarket

Horse racing events – October

  • 12th October – Dubai Future Champions Day – Newmarket
  • 19th October – QIPCO British Champions Day – Ascot
  • 26th October – Futurity Trophy Saturday – Doncaster

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Understanding the Rules and Regulations

Rules and regulations across the whole of horse racing are generally the same, however, with the difference in codes between the jumps and the Flat, it is worth checking what is correct in order not to be caught out.

The Flat Racing Season 2024 Rulebook

The full rulebook for the 2024 Flat Racing Season can be found here on the BHA website. The big new rule that was implemented this year was the number of times the jockey can strike their horse with the whip which was decreased from seven to six. Stronger penalties have been put in place if this rule is not abided by.

Jockeys and Trainers: Their Roles and Responsibilities

The responsibility of a jockey is to achieve the best possible position for their horse while remaining within the rules.

The responsibility of a racehorse trainer is to assess the horses’ temperament and ability at home, teach them skills, improve their race fitness, take care of their well-being, and refine their performance abilities.

Equipment and Gear Used in Flat Racing

A horse will use a wide variety of equipment during a race which can affect its overall performance.

As stated in the racecard next to the horse, the trainer will declare if their horse has any additional headgear equipment which can include blinkers, visors, sheepskin cheekpieces, sheepskin nosebands, hoods (which can be red for pre-race only or black for the race itself), and tongue straps.

General equipment that will be used on every horse in the race includes a saddle, saddle cloth (with their race number indicated), non-slip pads underneath the saddle, weighted saddle cloth, bit for the mouth, reins, and girth strap.

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