Introduction to Horse Racing

Horseracing is an extremely exciting equestrian sport that can be enjoyed as either an amateur or a professional sport at local, national and international levels. Anyone interested in horseracing can become involved, either as a spectator or as a rider, breeder or trainer.

The sport has become an important economic activity in many countries, and it is not unusual for large amounts of money to exchange hands during a race. A large gambling industry has grown up around horseracing, especially at more prestigious racing events such as the Dubai Cup, which is the most financially lucrative race in the world. The breeding and training of horses has become an important industry in itself, and the wealth from horseracing tends to be polarised in favour of a small number of extremely wealthy people, who own most of the racehorses in the world.

Horseracing is also an extremely dangerous sport with the highest fatality rate of any sport. Horses and jockeys are regularly injured, and animal rights activist argue that events such as the Grand National in the UK are cruel because of the high number of deaths and injuries suffered by competing horses.

Historically, horseracing can be traced back at least as far as chariot races in Roman times. In the UK, records show that horse racing took place between Roman soldiers in Yorkshire around 200AD, while the first race track opened in 1174 at Newmarket in Suffolk.

A common nickname for horseracing is ‘The Sport of Kings’ because it is traditionally a popular with members of the British royal family. In the 15th century, Charles II established some of the basic ground rules for the sport and also jockeyed his own horse. Nowadays, Princess Anne has shown a strong passion for the sport and her daughter, Zara Phillips, became the Eventing World Champion in 2006.