The first major fixture of the year is Newmarket’s Guineas Festival, which usually takes place right at the start of May. This stages two of racing’s Classics - defining races for the three-year-old generation of that season. Chester and York also host popular spring meetings before two of Flat’s racing's flagship events. The first Saturday in June is Derby Day - arguably the most important Flat race in the world - when over 100,000 descend on Epsom Downs for one of the sport’s most awe-inspiring spectacles. Hot on its heels comes Royal Ascot, which showcases the best Flat racing in Europe. This five-day extravaganza sees top sport and fabulous style combine. Glorious Goodwood and York’s Ebor meeting provide the high-summer highlights, before attention falls once again on Newmarket for its early-autumn juvenile championship races. A new innovation, British Champions’ Day at Ascot, effectively brings the curtain down on the Flat, although a handful of important races are staged after it.
The vast prize money on offer at end-of-year meetings in America (the Breeders’ Cup) and the Far East has made them ever more the focus for European trainers with top horses. But there are also lucrative and prestigious opportunities each spring at the Dubai International Racing, where Jeremy Noseda has enjoyed significant success, and in Ireland and France during the traditional Turf season.