Editorial

The best sporting events to watch this summer

As the clocks go forward and days begin to get longer, it’s easy for sports fans to get carried away and think of the summer. As coronavirus restrictions ease and normality looks to have resumed for the time being, crowds can finally return in their masses and you only need to look at the number of people at Wembley for the League Cup final or at Cheltenham for Gold Cup Day to really appreciate what we had before covid sprung.

While there is still plenty of action over spring we thought we’d jump the gun and get right into summer. The sun will hopefully be shining and there are plenty of big sporting events to attend or watch from home or in a beer garden over the summer. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the best sporting events to watch this summer.

Champions League final

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine moving the Champions League final away from Saint Petersburg and into Paris, the European football season will reach its climax with perhaps the most prestigious club competition. Although some fans fear that too many changes are being made to the competition’s format, it’s important to just enjoy what we have while it’s here, and plenty of teams are in search of that big-eared trophy. A lot can change before the final on May 28th, with underdogs like Villarreal and Benfica just as capable of making their way to the city of love as the favourites.

The English Greyhound Derby

While the sport of greyhound racing might not be as popular as it once was, there is still a small but dedicated following that would have been happy to return to the track after a long absence last year, and this summer will be the first time since 2019 they’ll be able to witness The English Greyhound Derby live.

Perhaps the most important race on the calendar, greyhound betting is always rife amongst the crowd at Towcester racecourse. Running there for consecutive years after a brief stint in Nottingham for refurbishments, the final race takes place in June and is a 500m dash after almost a month of qualifiers and heats, with the winner taking £175,000 in prize money.

Last year saw Patrick Janssens-trained Thorn Falcon reign supreme but the frantic nature and unpredictability of greyhound racing means greyhound tips today can often be hard to judge. Expect another close encounter this summer when the final approaches in the Midlands, alongside plenty of other Category One races that ensure an enjoyable night at the track.

Wimbledon

The start of the year has certainly been strange for tennis. Novak Djokovic was unable to play at the Australian opening over vaccine disagreements, allowing Rafael Nadal to swoop in and claim another Grand Slam after beating Daniil Medvedev. It leaves the build-up to both the Roland Garros French Open and Wimbledon in an interesting position. Last year in London saw the Serbian dominate on Centre Court but with plenty of competition on the come-up and the return of spectators in the capital, you wonder if an outsider can come along and disrupt the conventional big three.

Epsom Derby Festival

As horse racing prepares to wrap up the jumps season and return to flat racing, attention will soon be turned to the Epsom Derby Festival, and given how exciting last season was, spectators will be eager to return to Surrey to bask in the atmosphere. Adayar was victorious last year, something of an outside shot, but with champion jockeyOisin Murphy serving his ban this summer it is likely William Buick will want to capture his first title after missing out on the final few races of last season.

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