Horseracing has a long and illustrious history and has been practised the world over for millennia. The sport was popular in ancient civilisations, with chariot racing taking place across ancient Greece and Rome.
In the 21st century, horseracing is firmly amongst the most popular sports in the world.
Many countries have established their own unique traditions and variations of the sport, altering the nature of the challenge for riders and horses by introducing different course lengths, obstacles and track surfaces.
While in some countries, horses are raced merely for the sporting challenge, a major part of horseracing’s appeal is the opportunity to bet on races and get up close to the horses to pick a winner by eye.
How many people go to the races in Britain each year?
Horseracing is the second-most popular spectator sport in the UK, coming only behind football. According to industry surveys, approximately six million people attend the races each year in Britain alone, with 40 per cent of the attendees being women.
Further afield, horseracing is popular in France, Australia, USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Malaysia, while in Japan, fans are known to sleep in the queue for big events.
Why is horseracing so popular?
Racegoers enjoy going to the races not only because races provide a thrilling spectacle, but because the experience makes for a great day out with family and friends. Most racecourses don’t have a specific dress code, so visitors can relax and enjoy the racing. Tradition goes, though, that many racegoers enjoy donning their favourite hat or sharp new suit to make the most of the event. Children are also welcome at most racecourses and go free, so it is a day out that all the family can enjoy.
Racecourses often feature restaurants, bars, tearooms and event spaces, making them the perfect place to socialise with friends and enjoy a day out in between the action.
Why do racegoers enjoy betting on the races?
Horseracing is a sport that many fans enjoy placing bets on and, thanks to the constantly changing odds, a carefully calculated and well-timed punt can make for an even more thrilling event on the racecourse itself.
Bookmakers offer a wide variety of bets to make sure that prospective bettors have plenty of choice when it comes to adding a little extra to the racing experience.
The advent of online bookmakers and betting websites has created a more informed race-going public. Information about different horses and jockeys is widely available across multiple media channels, which has helped to widen the scope of the sport further still and attract new audiences.