From Ascot to Aintree: A Journey Through the Heart of UK Horse Racing Culture
Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the UK. Races are held up and down the country every week and attract huge crowds with millions more watching on television and streaming apps. How did horse racing begin in the UK? Why is it so popular? Read on to find out more about horse racing in the UK and how it became a part of British culture.
All Roads Lead To Rome
The history of horse racing in the UK traces its roots back to the age of the Roman Empire. The original rules of the sport, its traditions, and its place in British culture go back to the days of classical antiquity. For thousands of years, horse racing has been a hugely popular spectator sport, and the British people embraced it like no other. Horse racing is now one of the world’s most popular sports, with races being held daily across the world. Its popularity in Britain and the spread of the British Empire undoubtedly helped bring the sport to a wider, worldwide audience.
The Sport Of Kings
Horse racing in the United Kingdom became an established part of British life and a constant presence in the British sporting calendar in the early 18th Century. King Charles II was the first British monarch to embrace horse racing, and his enthusiasm helped to make it one of the biggest sports in the country by the early 1700s.
The Jockey Club was established in 1750, and one of its early members, Admiral Rous, helped established the handicapping and weight systems that are still in use today. Very quickly, racecourses were built across the UK including Newmarket, Ascot, and Cheltenham, and many courses created big event races to help draw large annual crowds.
Racing Across The UK
As racing became more popular, more and more racecourses opened across the United Kingdom. Though racehorse ownership was too expensive for the common man, they could still enjoy the events and get in on the action by betting on horses. Betting was informal at first, but soon became an established part of the sport both at the tracks and further afield.
Today, people can bet on horse races across the world from the phone in their pocket. Check out this review of the best horse racing betting sites in the UK to find out where you can place a bet on a race. This has become one of the biggest drivers of fans to the sport, with bookmakers offering live streaming of races to people who place bets on their apps and websites.
Big Races Are Big Events
Of all of Britain’s great races, The Grand National stands out. Every year families, work colleagues, and friends create their own sweepstakes for the event. Some will place money bets on the race, and many will simply have a bag of sweets for the winner. No matter what the stakes are, the whole country embraces the race every year and it is a major cultural event for the nation.
The popularity of The Grand National is a testament to horse racing’s place in the hearts of the public. Even those who do not follow horse races throughout the year will still follow The Grand National at Aintree, making it one of the highest-viewed sporting events that often rivals football’s FA Cup final for domestic viewing numbers.
Save The Dates
Horse racing in the UK never ends, with races happening all year round at different courses across the country. The festival season begins in March with Cheltenham, and this is often seen as the signal for the beginning of the big races that keep going all the way to Christmas. The Grand National follows in April, with the Chester Races in May and Royal Ascot in June. Every month has its big racing festival that draws the biggest crowds and fastest horses. The culture of horse racing in the United Kingdom
The big racing festivals are just the tip of the horse racing iceberg. There is a race happening somewhere nearly every day of the year. Britain is the epicentre of horse racing for the whole world, both historically and culturally, enjoying a race on these shores is a rite of passage for racing fans the world over.