British horse racing has a reputation of the sport of kings because it is associated with royal figures. That is why Britain is one of the countries where horse racing is a hugely popular sport. Betting on horse racing in England is a crucial activity both for the sport and gambling in general. That is why you will find many horse racing betting sites in the UK. Races are held daily in the UK, except on Good Friday and Christmas. The British Racing Authority is responsible for regulating the sport. The UK hosts some of the most famous races in this sport.
The History of the British Horse Racing Sites
Even though organized horse racing became popular in the 17th century, some of the oldest races on British territory date from 200 AD and they were held by Roman soldiers. Horse fairs were ideal locations for the races, and the first recorded horse racing event was from an 1174 London horse market.
Newmarket is the place where the first Gold Cup was held in 1634 and now it is known as the home of British horse racing. Horse racing was banned under the reign of Oliver Cromwell who himself was a horse breeder. Charles II led the rise of the sport after he sat on the throne. Henry VIII imported overseas stallions and bred them with native horses in the 16th century, so the Thoroughbred horse was created and now plays a major part in horse racing.
The sport grew bigger with each year, so the Parliament tried to stall its progress by introducing an act in 1740, but it was mostly unsuccessful. The Jockey Club created the official rules of horse racing in 1752. Some of the popular races today such as the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger Stakes were organized around that period.
In the 19th century it became a big sport thanks to the constant increase in audience and coverage by newspapers. That is when bookmakers decided to make their move and invest a lot into the sport.
Even though there were fewer races than before, horse racing managed to be active even during WWI and WWII. After the two wars, the popularization of TVs changed the landscape of British horse racing. Thanks to the broadcasting of the races, bookmakers could now offer off-track betting. Nowadays, only football is broadcasted more than horse racing in the United Kingdom, and many people enjoy placing wagers on the races.
Current State of Horse Racing in the UK
Horse racing in Britain hosts more than 10000 races yearly which are attended and watched by millions of people. Even though race tracks have been shut down over the years, there are still about 60 active courses. There are two types of horse racing: flat and jump racing.
As you probably guessed, flat racing is held on a flat track which is either grass or a synthetic surface for different weathers. In jump racing, horses need to jump over obstacles. The official name of this horse racing form is National Hunt racing, and it is divided into hurdles and steeplechases. Most of the races are held in winter and the reason for that is it is safer due to the ground being softer.
Since the creation of the British Horseracing Board in 1993, it shared the regulation duties of horse racing with the Jockey Club. However, in 2006 the Horseracing Regulatory Authority took over from the Jockey Club and formed the British Horse Racing Authority by joining the Horseracing Regular Authority.
Betting on Horse Racing in the United Kingdom
We said earlier that gambling plays a significant part in UK horse racing. The bookies sponsor many events so that they have a big prize pool. Many people like to have fun when watching the sport, so they place a bet on the outcome of the race. However, there are others who are serious about horse racing gambling and research a lot of information about the horses.
There are numerous ways for you to make a bet on horse racing in England. One of them is by going to the race track and placing your wager there. If that is not an option, there are local bookmakers which offer horse racing bets.
You can also find many UK horse racing sites which offer their customers the convenience of betting from their homes. These websites offer bonuses and promotions which are not available to people who go to the race track to bet.
Biggest Race Tracks and Events in the UK
Some of the most popular horse racing events are held in Britain, including The Grand National, which is the largest event in British horse racing, the Cheltenham Festival, and the Royal Ascot Festival.
The UK Triple Crown consists of the following flat races – 2000 Guineas Stakes, the St. Leger Stakes, and the Epsom Derby. Other famous events are the Epsom Oaks and the 1000 Guineas Stakes.