UK Horse Racing History
It is hard to imagine a typical weekend in the United Kingdom without thinking, no matter how briefly, about the horse races. This national past-time brings together members of all classes, all ages and all backgrounds. Be it Flat or Jump Races, the equine sports are such a staple of British sporting life we rarely question their beginnings.
This section of our site is devoted to bringing you the historical background of the races, as well as facts on the slow and deliberate evolution of today's thoroughbred horse. If you enjoy your racing now, you will enjoy it even more with the knowledge about its rich history and long-standing tradition.
The tradition of British horse racing dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, when Roman Soldiers invading the isle organised the first tournaments on horseback around 200 AD. The first officially recorded horse race in the United Kingdom however is dated 1174, during the reign of Henry II, and is said to have taken place in London suburb Smithfield during a horse fair.
Thoroughbred racing got its name for a reason - only those horses bred from a select stock are permitted to run in Thoroughbred races. What you may find surprising is that there were a core 3 sires brought to England in the 17th and 18th centuries that were most responsible for the foundation of Thoroughbred racing.
No one can deny that 'the sport of kings', the fine tradition of racing horses, is deeply entwined with the English culture. During weekends and holidays, as well as on other celebratory occasions, race meetings seem to be an almost compulsory element on the entertainment menu. Let us invite you to delve a little deeper into the world of English horse racing.
As horse racing, the sport of kings, is considered a staunchly British tradition, it is very easy to overlook the fact that the individual countries within Great Britain have an autonomous and flourishing racing industry. This page highlights the courses, history and traditions of Scottish horseracing specifically.
Although there may be sceptics amongst the crowd of racing fans, who doubt that Wales of all places will ever be an influential force on the horse racing circuit, you shouldn't ignore the strong and growing trend of Welsh horse racing. With a new state of the art racecourse opened in Carmarthenshire less than a year ago in 2009, Wales is definitely an area to watch.
Far be it from us to enter into the discussion about whether Ireland or England is the superior authority on everything, but the topic of Irish Horse Racing is simply too exciting to be left alone. And while we won't argue on behalf of the Irish or the English on any other level, it just has to be said that Irish Horse Racing is pretty excellent.
Any cultural phenomenon - from sports to music to politics - sooner or later produces its very own artefacts. These items, be it the scrunchie Cindy Lauper threw in the audience at the end of the show or the shoes thrown at the US president by a furious journalist, quickly acquire great value, at least to the initiated, and become somewhat of a holy grail. Horse Racing is no exception and Horse Racing Memorabilia is sought after today like never before.
HorseRacing.co.uk's Top Tens
There are 60 registered flat and national hunt racecourses in the UK, all of which offer their individual perks and specialties. It is tremendously difficult to select the top 6% of these extraordinary horse racing venues but we have done our best based on the quality of races staged at each racecourse and the general ambience during the racing festivities....
While we would like to pay appropriate tribute to all the greats among the race horses of past and present, this page celebrates the Top Ten Race Horses Of All Time. Whether UK, Irish, or US-bred, whether famous for their skill on the flat or at the jump races - these legendary contenders have made their mark on the sport. As their names live on, often for decades after their retirement and deaths, we would like to introduce you to some of the biggest icons of equine sports, the true heroes of the track - the greatest race horses ever.
Racehorses, as you have surely noticed over the years, tend to have interesting names. While a lot of them are very heroic and evocative of potential greatness - like Man O'War or Imperial Commander - there are some names that seem downright ludicrous. It has not been easy, but we have compiled our very own Top Ten of the strangest racehorse names we could find. Prepare to be amazed - and amused.
Every year hundreds of new hopeful jockeys flood the racing scene in a bid to build a reputation for themselves; but only very few ever make it to the top. To get recognised as a top jockey takes almost superhuman dedication to the sport; and a complete disregard for the health risks associated with this profession. This page honours a select few athletes, who followed their passion for the track to become true stars of the international racing scene. We proudly present the Top Ten Jockeys of All Time!
Sports and music seem to go hand in hand. Soccer fans chant and sing in the stadium, national anthems are performed at every big sporting event - and horse racing, even if you did not realise it, is no exception. Check out the top ten horse racing songs, paying tribute to famous races and racing personalities, or simply songs which have become part of the racing scene over the years.
Nominating the Top Ten in any category is an almost impossible task; especially when it comes to a sport that delivers as many regular highlights as horse racing. Nonetheless, Top Ten Horse Racing Moments sounds a lot better than Ten Pretty Good Horse Racing Moments, so we have decided to go with this theme. And who knows, you might discover some new great moments on the track to add to your personal list.
Horse trainers are rarely the stars of the track, a place where jockeys and horses usually revel in the spotlight. However, trainers are the true salt of equine sports and should be acknowledged for their immense contribution to this wonderful tradition.
During our daily travels through the wonderful world of horse racing, it has come to our attention that the races, race horses and jockeys seem a popular thing to reference in the popular media. And as we love the races, we found this fascinating and thought we share some of our favourite horse racing pop culture moments with you.