10 Surprising Facts About Horse Racing
Here are ten facts you may not have known about this wonderful sport.
12:41 16 December 2019
Any sport with a history as rich as horse racing is guaranteed to provide fans with plenty of facts, statistics and unknown details.
- Horse racing is Britain’s second-favorite sport following football, in terms of its spectatorship. Morethan six million people attend racing events each year and it’s one of the nation’s best-loved forms of entertainment.
- Flat racing provides bigger prizes compared to jump racing in the UK. The average prize money in flat racing is around £17,744, while in jump racing the average is £11,072. This could be because several of the most prestigious races in the UK are flat races, including the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs and the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket.
- Horse racing has royal connections, hence its title as the ‘Sport of Kings’. It was King James I who first took a real interest in racing back in 1605 – so much so, that he was advised by parliament to put more focus on running the country instead of spending his time watching races.
- Australia has the most racing tracks in the world, with 479 racecourses to date and more being added all the time. Australia’s passion for horse racing is one which has expanded quickly, as evidenced by its many tracks around the country.
- It’s believed that the figure gambled on horse racing each year exceeds $100 billion, so why not check out some racing tips and get involved, everybody else seems to be.
- Horse racing used to be a simple pastime rather than any test of athleticism. Betting wasn’t introduced until much later but once it was, the sport flourished and gained rapid popularity around the world.
- There’s no danger of forgetting a horse’s birthday, as all horses born in the northern hemisphere are given the birth date of 1st January and all of those born in the southern hemisphere are considered to have been born on 1st This is to make it easier for assessing horses for competitions, as many races have strict age requirements.
- The slowest winning race time was 11 minutes and 28 seconds back in 1945. The winning horse was called Never Mind II and was actually abandoned early on in the race by his jockey when he refused to go over a fence. But after all of the other contenders dropped out of the race, his jockey returned, and they finished at a leisurely pace.
- In the UK, horse racing was once outlawed during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. Many horses were seized by the state following the Civil War and the early advocates of racing as a sport were dealt with a temporary blow until the law was dropped and the sport was reinstated.
- Few jockeys actually make it to professional status and earn a living from the sport. In 2017, there were just 450 professional jockeys in the UK and a further 300 amateur riders, making this a career choice that seemingly few can enjoy.
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