It has been a big year for horse racing fans this year. From Sprinter Sacre returning to winning ways at Cheltenham after an irregular heartbeat, to Rule The World winning the Grand National at Aintree as a 33-1 long shot. As well as that, odds-on favourite Order of St. George didn’t disappoint, winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Of course, there is a lot to look forward to this year, with Mountainous seeking a third victory at the Welsh National in late December and the Christmas period always contains a hectic schedule, which the punters love.

Yet, there’s no doubt that the real standout meetings on the racing calendar aren’t until 2017, and it will begin with Cheltenham on March 14th. The first day is packed with excellent races, with the Queen Mother Champion Chase featuring this year’s winner Sprinter Sacre along with Douvan. Despite Nicky Henderson’s horse powering home last year, against the odds, Douvan’s addition to the race has seen him open as favourite.

You can get race highlights from Coral, along with the key horse racing betting and they have Douvan as an even money favourite, with Sprinter Sacre available at 4/1. Also on the first day is the Champion Hurdle, where Faugheen and Annie Power could face-off in what would be a memorable race.

Of course, with the races still months away, there could be a lot more twists and turns, but it should be exciting for the fans.

The Gold Cup will round off the Cheltenham festival, one of the biggest races in the UK, and then all eyes will be on another – the Grand National. That is on April 8th, but it will struggle to have the same drama that we had this year.

With some massive jumps it’s race that grabs the attention of all, with £250m believed to have been gambled on this year’s race. We saw 33-1 Rule The World win, for a delighted and emotional Mouse Morris who is the trainer. As well as that, 100-1 Vics canvas came 3rd, so it really was a great day for the underdog – and anyone who had it each-way!

After that, we have Royal Ascot to look forward too, but that seems a long way off for now.

Next year should be a great time for punters, and as the clock ticks down to Cheltenham, the excitement will just build. It’s a festival that attracts the finest runners and riders in the game. With major races like the Gold Cup and the Grand National all within the four months of 2017, it can’t come quick enough for racing fans.