Although football is still the most popular sport in our nation, there is little doubting the fact that horse racing still holds a big appeal among even the most casual of sports fans. Each year, massive numbers of people tune in to watch major horse racing events like the Kentucky Derby. Plus many horse race meetings like Royal Ascot have even become major social and fashion events. So what is it about horse racing that has made it such an enduring sport?
Above all, horse racing is a thrilling spectacle. The sight of over a dozen thoroughbred racehorses galloping at up to 40 mph is something that you simply need to be in attendance to truly understand. Plus with the added thrill of jump racing, it seems that the mere spectacle of horse racing has remained undimmed over the years. While Formula 1 motor racing is certainly noisier and faster, there is simply something primal about horse racing that cannot be recreated.
It’s this captivating quality of horse racing that has made it such close bedfellows with the betting industry. Betting on horse racing goes back to the 1600s in England but it has grown to become a multi-billion dollar industry. The beauty of horse racing betting is that it’s so simple that anybody can take part, and even the most casual punter has a chance of backing the winner. There’s been an explosion in the number of horse racing betting websites as a result of the online revolution with sites like https://www.horsebetting.com/ca/ giving racing fans an easy way to see which bookmakers have the best odds for massive races anywhere from Canada to Australia and beyond.
Horse racing has become a truly global sport. While the ancestors of modern horses are thought to have their origins in central Asia, you can now find major horse races in dozens of countries across the planet. Horse racing hotspots include countries like the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, France, the US and UAE. However, most nations now include some horse races that are notable fixtures on the racing calendar with everything from the Queen’s Plate in Canada to the Japan Cup being great examples of modern horse racing.
Such massive horse race meetings regularly draw in thousands of eager horse racing fans. It’s thought that over 150,000 people attend major race meetings like the Kentucky Derby in the US. Similarly grand horse racing meetings like the Grand National in the UK, the Melbourne Cup in Australia and L’arc de Triomphe in France have become no less successful at pulling in huge numbers of spectators who would never normally attend a sporting event.
This is because horse racing meetings are often about so much more than the actual race itself. Many people will attend major horse racing festivals like the Cheltenham Festival in the UK for the carnival atmosphere. The fact that the Cheltenham Festival regularly falls on St Patricks Day has meant that this meeting regularly attracts thousands of Irish visitors that add to the party atmosphere. The hospitality industry that surrounds these racedays is a massive endeavour in itself. The fact that over 300,000 pints of beer are drunk at UK race meetings like the Grand National reveals the fact that many people come to horse racing events for much more than the actual racing itself.
Such social events have naturally lent themselves to becoming quite a focus for fashion. With even regular attendees of horse racing being asked to upgrade their attire beyond shorts and sneakers, it’s arguable that horse racing is perhaps the best-dressed sport. This is especially true as race meetings like Royal Ascot have become fixtures on the fashion calendar. Special days like Ladies Day give attendees the chance to dress up in flamboyant outfits with all manner of fascinators making a real spectacle.
Naturally such a parade of fashion has meant that horse racing events have become major celebrity attractions. The Melbourne Cup in Australia is arguably one of the most celeb-studded race meetings with famous attendees like Paris Hilton and Gigi Hadid making sure that the assembled paparazzi have plenty to keep them busy. Plus it’s worth noting that horse racing in the UK has had a real royal heritage with the Queen owning many thoroughbred horses after inheriting the racing stock from her father King George VI.
But while there’s no shortage of pomp and circumstance surrounding horse racing, at the end of the day it always comes down to the horse racing action. After all, the horse racing world is littered with the names of famous racehorses like Secretariat and Red Rum that will go down in history just as Muhammed Ali and Diego Maradona have done. This is because these racehorses have managed to show that they are capable of incredible athleticism that have captured the hearts of millions of people from all over the world.
Plus it’s worth noting that the horse racing industry has started making real efforts to upgrade its standards in regard to animal welfare. Recent measures have included limiting the use of the whip in many countries, and it’s hoped that further efforts are introduced to ensure that every racehorse is adequately taken care of. If this is the case, then there will be nothing stopping horse racing from enjoying plenty more popularity in the future.