Horse racing is an entertaining and thrilling sport with millions of fans across the globe. The sport which involves 2 or more horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance for competition is popular in many places. A lot of spectators will turn up for a racing event at any given time.
Horse Racing Sport Varies Widely In Format across the Globe
It is important to take note however that horse racing differs widely in format in different parts of the world even though the rules remain the same. Variations include racing on different track surfaces, racing over different distances, racing over obstacles and restricting races to particular horse breeds.
Normally, countries have adapted their own specific horse racing traditions. In Australia for instance, it is only the Thoroughbred horse that is used for racing. It is a specific horse breed that is known for its outstanding performance on the track. The Thoroughbred horse is believed to be faster with more endurance than other breeds of horses.
What’s more, Australian horse races mainly take place on flat surfaces, even though races over obstacles are slowly becoming popular in some parts of the country, including Victoria as well as South Australia.
The Origin of Horse Racing
Racing of horses is one of the oldest sports with rules that have remained the same since its beginning. Horseracing has a long and fascinating history, dating back to hundreds of centuries. As said earlier, the sport has been practiced in different civilizations across the world from ancient Greece and Egypt to many parts of Asia.
Even though many people believe that horse racing begun in the UK, the reality is that it started with the nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia who had been racing horses since 648 BC.
It is the UK however that introduced horseracing as a professional sport in the 12th century, following the return of the English knights from the war, which had taken place in Asia. The Knights had won the battle and confiscated their enemies’ horses, which were of Asian origin. The Thoroughbred horse breed resulted from the breeding of these horses with English horses.
During Charles the Second’s reign in the late 1600s, the king organized private horse racing events for him and his family on private courses and open fields occasionally with winners awarded various prizes.
The subsequent English rulers continued this sport, which was introduced to other parts of the world by English explorers resulting in a globally recognized sport. By the late 1800s, horse racing had become a professional sport in many countries consequently making it to the 1908 Olympic Games for the first time.
The Grand National
It is a national horse race event held yearly in the UK since 1839. It features a handicap steeplechase over several miles with horses jumping 30 fences over 2 laps. 2017 was one of the biggest highlights of the Grand Nationals with a prize fund of one million pounds. It ended dramatically with a good number of previous winners Grand National getting kicked out of their winner titles.