History of Horse Racing in UK

Horse racing originated in the ancient world of the Greeks. And like a number of other events in history, this sport was passed on to Romans that have learned to become obsessed with the sport. The Greeks in those days incorporated this game within the Olympics, which helped it gain natural popularity.

The origin of the game in United Kingdom though begins with the importation of Arabian stallions into England during and following the Crusades. The amalgamation from the stock from Middle East as well as the breeds in Europe resulted in the emergence of a swift runner having a steady build.

During the course of Europe’s horse racing history, we can notice that the sport was dedicated primarily towards the noble and royal families alone. The commoners served as the spectators.

In fact, Charles II and Queen Anne were known to have been enthusiastic about horse racing that both had public and private horse racing competitions held through their own initiatives.

Horse racing in Europe was marked later with the development of various racing arenas over the land. However, professional horse racing occurred during the 16th century once the great classics were established.

Even before America had got its American Jockey Club, Europe had already established the very first governing body for horse racing. In line with this, it has already accomplished various things associated with horse racing.

The Jockey Club of England was established due to the movement initiated by the elite of horse racing. This then became the overseer of racetracks, races, standards for horse breeds, and event regulations and rules. In short, they formalized the sport, as we know in the present day during 1750s. The Jockey Club was also the cause of early determination of breeding lines of the horses.

James Weatherby, an official of the Jockey Club was the first to distinguish the founding sires of the stallions that people now know as Thoroughbreds.

Throughout the progression of the game, various types were formed. They are called as the classics.

One of the most popular are St. Leger which was founded during 1776, the Oaks that was founded three years after, the next year produced the Derby, 2,000 Guineas in 1809 and 1000 Guineas that was created 5 years after.

Each one of these, among other events, were created from the formation of the Jockey Club.

St. Leger
St. Leger was founded by a former Irish soldier Lieutenant Colonel Anthony St Leger. The first event under this category occured on September 24, 1776. It offers the longest distance among the English Classics, which ran over 132 yards, 1m and 6f.

On our present sense, this range was relatively short which led to questioning its worth since ranges seem to have switched to more glamorous distances. This game existed for 227 years but was canceled in the Civil War.

The Derby
This horse racing event rooted from a race that was devised by Edward Smith Stanley who was the Earl of Derby during 1779. With his friends, they meant to race only among themselves over 1 1/2 miles. It was named after his estate, Oaks. The race has grown to be successful and the following year saw the second race of its kind.

The actual race was then founded after the Earl won in a bet on flipped coin with his friend Sir Charles Bunbury, then was an excellent racing figure.

These are merely a couple of the most famous English Classics. Central to all these is the fact that inspite of the presence of horse racing among other cultures, Europe is still credited for being the proponent for the 1st formal exhibition of horse racing.