Which are the longest, and oldest, horse races run in Britain?

Anyone with even a passing interest in horse racing is probably only too well aware that the longest race run under the Rules of Racing, on a modern, enclosed racecourse, is the Grand National. In the past decade or so, the advertised distance of the Aintree showpiece has been shortened twice, once in 2013, when the start was moved closer to the first fence for safety purposes, and again in 2016, as the result of a change to the measuring methodology employed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). Nevertheless, at 4 miles, 2 furlongs and 74 yards, the National remains the longest race of its kind run in Britain.

Likewise, the oldest ‘official’ race on the British racing calandar is the Doncaster Cup, which is run over 2 miles, 1 furlong and 97 yards on Town Moor during the St. Leger Festival in September each year. Fans of weekly free bet clubs will have enjoyed watching selections run in this prestigious race. Since 2003, the Doncaster Cup has been a Group 2 contest, but was inaugurated, as the Doncaster Gold Cup, run over 4 miles on Cantley Common, to the east of site of the modern racecourse, in 1766, before being transferred to the present venue a decade later.

However, if we consider all the horse races run anywhere in Britain, inside or outside the Rules of Racing, the Kiplingcotes Derby, which, according to popular belief, was established in 1519, pre-dates the Doncaster Cup by nearly two-and-a-half centuries. The race is run annually on the third Thursday in March, over 4 miles on an unconventional, occasionally hilly course consisting of roadside verges, country lanes and farmland, in the vicinity of Kiplingscote, a hamlet in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Unlike the Grand National or the Doncaster Cup, the Kiplingcotes Derby is open to horses of any age or ability.

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