Horse racing is one of the most beloved sports in Britain. Classic and elegant, it counts more and more fans year after year, all looking for a good day out or an excuse to put some money down.
Horse racing is one of the most bet on sports, with online sites offering betting odds at Cheltenham, ascot and all the other major races. But, before attending an event, you should brush up on your horse racing knowledge, so no conversation will catch you by surprise.
- Jump racing is Britain’s favourite
The Grand National held annually at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool is Britain’s most prominent race, watched by many people who are not exactly interested in other horse races throughout the year. Since this is a National Hunt race, it makes jump racing Britain’s favourite type of horserace.
- Pregnant fillies and mares are often entered in a race
If you believed that fillies and mares stopped racing as soon as they’ve been covered, know that you’re wrong. Not only pregnant horses can race for up to four months after they’ve been covered, but it is even believed that being in foal actually has a positive impact on their race performance.
- The Jockey Club is the largest commercial group in British horseracing
Have you ever wondered who is behind keeping horse racing a healthy sport? It’s the Jockey Club. The Club owns over 15 racecourses, including Newmarket and Aintree, and is dedicated to improving every aspect of this sport.
- The Classics are the most sought-after flat races in Britain
National Hunt races may be Britain’s favourites, but the most sought-after are the Classics. These five races are considered the ultimate test of a generation of horses but are restricted to colts and fillies three years old or over. Distances vary from 1 mile to 1 mile and 6.5 furlongs, and the only horse in the history to win four classics outright was Sceptre in 1902.
- Jockeys are a rare breed
Britain counts 14,000 racehorses in training, but far fewer jockeys. Indeed, there are only 450 professional jockeys and about 300 amateurs in the entire country.
- The Derby was first run in 1780
One of the Classic races and part of the Triple Crown, the Derby is one of the most popular races of all times. It was named in honour of Edward Smith-Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby, and it was first run in 1780.
- Racehorses are much lighter than most other horse breeds
It is common knowledge that jockeys are usually lighter in weight than most people, but did you know that racehorses are also lighter than other horse breeds? Because they are specifically bred to be fast and agile, most thoroughbreds weigh around 1,000 pounds – far less than other horses.
- A handicap is a type of racing, not a hindrance
Despite its name, a handicap race has nothing to do with a horse’s ability to race. It refers to allocating different weights to different horses to equalise their chances of winning the race.
- Winning Brew is the fastest horse in the history of horseracing
All racehorses are fast, but the fastest racehorse in history was Winning Brew, an American thoroughbred who wowed the masses with its top speed of 43.97mph over two furlongs.
- Mark Johnston is the best trainer of all times
Scottish trainer Mark Johnston holds the primate as the all-time record for the British race winners for a single trainer, with over 4,100 victories. Quite remarkable!