Here at grandnational.fans, we are all about the Grand National. Any Grand National actually. Of course, we wait all year for the Aintree spectacular but when you throw in the Coral Welsh National, the Irish National at Fairyhouse and the Scottish National at Ayr, then we know we are spoiled for choice. But like all racing fans, four races a year isn’t enough to keep us ticking over so there are a few others that we love the build-up to.
Cheltenham Festival 2020
No racing fan misses the annual Cheltenham Festival. It is by far the most lucrative in the country and the talent on display is simply incredible. This year there’s a lot to look forward to. Can Altior come back and win his third Queen Mother Champion Chase? Will Lostintranslation bounce back from his recent disappointing run in the King George VI Chase and snatch the Gold Cup?
Last year we saw Bryony Frost make history when she became the first woman to win a Grade 1 at the Festival. Hot on her heels was Rachael Blackmore, who could become the first woman to win two if she repeats her excellent Festival performance.
We also saw trainer Willie Mullins win the Gold Cup for the first time last season with Al Boum Photo. Did you know that for all his Cheltenham success, he has never won the Champion Chase. Could the 2020 Cheltenham Festival change all of that?
Basically it’s going to be another incredible festival and we can’t wait!
Pegasus World Cup
There are some massive international races and the Pegasus World Cup is one of them. This is a very new race that was run for the first time in 2017. But the kicker with this one is that with a purse of a staggering $16 million in 2018 it surpassed the Dubai World Cup as the richest horse race in the world. However, that prize pot has dropped since then and for 2020 will only be worth $3 million, which to be fair is still an incredible amount of money.
But there’s a very good reason for this. To enter a horse in the first running in 2017 it would have cost you a whopping $1 million. That entry fee has come down over the last couple of years though. In 2019 it was $500,000 and for the 2020 renewal on January 25th, it is free.
The race takes place at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida and unlike the 2020 Grand National is a flat race. It is very fast and the first three winners all won in under 1m 48s. So who are the Pegasus Cup 2020 contenders that we need to look out for? Omaha Beach is the bookmakers current favourite and even with ante-post odds is still as short as 5/4. This 4-year-old flyer has already notched up winnings of more than £1.2 million and on his current form looks unstoppable.
Saudi Cup 2020
This piques our interest for two reasons. First, it will be held on February 29th (leap year) which is pretty unique. But secondly, when it was announced that the prize fund would be $20,000,000, yes you read that correctly – twenty MILLION – well, we couldn’t help but get excited. The nine-furlong contest on dirt at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, instantly became the world’s richest horse race.
The statistics are simply jaw-dropping. The winner will take home $10 Million. Think about that. That’s ten million dollars to win one single race. And even then those that place will probably earn more from that race than most earn in their entire careers. Second place is worth $3.5 million and there is $2 million for third, $1.5 million for fourth; $1 million for fifth and $600,000 for sixth. Even if a horse finishes in tenth-place they will still bank $200,000.
So who is in the running? Already ante-post odds have Maximum Security in top spot. This four-year-old has only been racing for one year. His first race was on January 24th 2019 and he has run eight times in total, winning six of them (he won but was disqualified from the Kentucky Derby in 2019). That has earned connections £1.4m in winnings. Can he add another $10M to his haul? We will have to wait until February 29th 2020 to find out.