History of Horse Racing in UK

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

The original source 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 and the breeds in Europe led to the emergence of a swift runner with a steady build.

Throughout Europe’s horse racing history, we can observe that the sport was dedicated primarily to the noble and royal families alone. The commoners served as the spectators.

The fact is, Charles II and Queen Anne were known to have been obsessed with horse racing that both had public and private horse racing competitions held through their very own initiatives.

Horse racing in Europe was marked later with the growth of various racing arenas over the land. However, professional horse racing occurred while in 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 accordance with this, it has already accomplished various things associated with horse racing.

The Jockey Club of England was established because of 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 other words, they formalized the sport, as we know of today during 1750s. The Jockey Club has also been the cause of the early determination of breeding lines of the horses.

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

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

One of the most popular are St. Leger that was founded during 1776, the Oaks which was founded three years after, the next year produced the Derby, 2,000 Guineas in 1809 and 1000 Guineas which 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 very first event under this category was held 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. The game existed for 227 years but was canceled during the Civil War.

The Derby
This horse racing event rooted from a race that was devised by Edward Smith Stanley who had been 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 become successful and the following year saw the 2nd race of its kind.

The name of the race was then founded once the Earl won in a game of flipped coin with his friend Sir Charles Bunbury, then was an outstanding racing figure.

These are just two of the most famous English Classics. Central to all these is that inspite of the presence of horse racing among other cultures, Europe continues to be credited for being the proponent for the 1st formal exhibition of horse racing.