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 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 after the Crusades. The combination of the stock from Middle East as well as the breeds in Europe resulted in the emergence of a swift runner with a steady build.
During the course of Europe’s horse racing history, we can observe 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 obsessed with horse racing that both had private and public horse racing competitions held through their very own initiatives.
Horse racing in Europe was marked later with the growth of various racing arenas throughout the land. However, professional horse racing occurred during the 16th century when the great classics were established.
Even before America had got its American Jockey Club, Europe had already established the first governing body for horse racing. In accordance with this, they have already accomplished various things pertaining to 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 rules and regulations. In short, they formalized the sport, as we know of today during 1750s. The Jockey Club was also the cause of the early determination of breeding lines of the horses.
James Weatherby, the official of the Jockey Club was the first person to distinguish the founding sires of the stallions that people now know as Thoroughbreds.
During the entire development of the sport, various types were formed. They are known as the classics.
Among the most popular are St. Leger that was founded during 1776, the Oaks that was founded 3 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 was founded by a former Irish soldier Lieutenant Colonel Anthony St Leger. The very first event under this category occured on September 24, 1776. It has 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 resulted in 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.
This horse racing event rooted from the race that had been 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 grown to be successful and the following year saw the second race of its kind.
The name of the race ended up being 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 two of the most famous English Classics. Central to all these is 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.