When it comes to horse racing, there are always some countries that stand out ahead of the crowd. Either when it comes to the most prominent owners, the most prestigious courses or the horses themselves, those who follow racing become rapidly familiar with the best and the brightest in a range of countries, and the UK is one of the archetypes of this. Stables, jockeys and racing fans alike are aware of the prestige of British races, and if you want to know what is happening in the sport, then finding out what the lie of the land is in the UK is a perfect way to start.
The racing history of the UK – and Ireland, which shares a lot of runners with it – is deep and varied. Depending on your generation, horses such as Red Rum, Desert Orchid and Arkle have been successful enough not only to win their fair share of races but also develop a worldwide reputation. A horse that is successful in the UK can win races anywhere – and below, we’re going to look at three of the standout horses set to make a big impact on the British racing scene in the coming year.
The Big Breakaway
Although the bigger races are always among the hardest to call, it makes sense to be optimistic about this seven-year-old steeplechaser and by the time April rolls around he is sure to be among the Grand National favourites. He’s certainly got the stamina to get round the famous Aintree course and absolutely justifies an each way bet at the very least. His age means that he will come back around a few times, too, and post-Aintree he’s going to be worth watching every time his name comes up in a chase.
In every sport, there are always contenders who look capable of pulling up trees from the moment they debut, and Givega has that look about him. Trained by Gary Moore, this energetic hurdler looks every inch the son of Authorized – which he is – and has caused a lot of keen onlookers to talk of him as an outside contender for one of the Novices’ Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. That’s an honour that tends to be bestowed on horses that look genuinely promising, and Givega has more than justified people’s early confidence in his ability to live up to it.
Though she bears the name of a beautiful Scottish coastal town, this filly is actually of French blood and in her early races there was already looking a cut above before she transferred to Willie Mullins’ Closutton stables. She’s been tested well in some competitive fields since the move and has beaten them handily, so there is a lot of excitement about her potential at Cheltenham this spring, where she’s expected to run in the Grade One Triumph Hurdle. A good performance there will see her reputation grow still further and with the steady hand of Mullins, there really is no limit to what this likeable runner could achieve.