Which England county has most racecourses?

All told, mainland Britain is home to 60 racecourses, five of which are in Scotland and three of which are in Wales. Of the 52 racecourses located in England, it should come as no great surprise that the largest conglomeration is found in Yorkshire which is, after all, the largest historic county in the country. Yorkshire has nine racecourses, six of which cater exclusively for Flat racing and three of which are dual purpose.

Starting in the extreme north of the county, Redcar, home of the Zetland Gold Cup, is a Flat-only venue, as are its North Yorkshire neighbours Ripon and Thirsk. Catterick, or Catterick Bridge, though, also stages National Hunt racing, including the North Yorkshire Grand National every January. Beverley, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and Pontefract, in West Yorkshire, are also Flat-only venues, but Wetherby, also in West Yorkshire, has been dual-purpose since 2015. York, in the heart of the county, is a Grade One Flat track, famous for the Juddmonte International, Nunthorpe and Yorkshire Oaks while, further south, Doncaster is home to the oldest British Classic, the St. Leger.

Why are horses gelded?

Males horses typically undergo puberty or, in other words, attain sexual maturity at or beyond the age of 15 months. Adolescent horses learn quickly, so this is an ideal time for training. However, as testosterone levels in the blood, and sperm production, increase, adolescent colts often display mating behaviours, such as biting, kicking and rearing, and generally become distracted, unruly and difficult to train. Thus, once it is clear that they will not be used for breeding, many colts are gelded, or castrated, to improve their demeanour and work ethic.

Gelding is a common surgical procedure, which involves removing the testicles and epididymis, and can be performed under standing sedation, rather than general anaesthetic. Testosterone is produced in cells in the testicles and, in their absence, its level in the blood drops rapidly, resulting in abrupt behavioural changes.Testosterone is also a growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth, so geldings may also benefit from physiological changes, such as more proportioned musculature, which can enhance their performance on the racecourse. In Britain, most male National Hunt horses are gelded but, on the Flat, geldings are prohibited from running in several prestigious Group One races, including the Derby.

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