History of Horse Racing in UK
Horse racing started in the ancient world of the Greeks. And like many other events in the history, this sport was passed on to Romans who have learned to become obsessed with the sport. The Greeks back then incorporated this game in 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 and the breeds in Europe led to 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 to 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 own initiatives.
Horse racing in Europe was marked later with the development 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 has got its American Jockey Club, Europe has already established the first governing body for horse racing. In line with this, it has already accomplished various things pertaining to 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 rules and regulations. In short, they formalized the sport, as we know of today during 1750s. The Jockey Club was also responsible for the 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 we now know as Thoroughbreds.
Throughout the development of the game, various types were formed. These are called as the classics.
Among the most popular are St. Leger that was founded during 1776, the Oaks which was founded 3 years after, the next year produced the Derby, 2,000 Guineas in 1809 and 1000 Guineas that was created five years after.
All these, among with other events, were created through 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 was held 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 led to questioning its worth since ranges seem to have switched to more glamorous distances. This game existed for 227 years but was canceled during the Civil War.
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 intended to race only among themselves over 1 ½ miles. This was named after his estate, Oaks. The race has become successful that the following year saw the second race of its kind.
The name of the race was then founded after the Earl won in a game of flipped coin with his friend Sir Charles Bunbury, then was an excellent racing figure.
These are just two of the most famous English Classics. Central to all these is that despite the presence of horse racing among other cultures, Europe is still credited for being the proponent for the 1st formal exhibition of horse racing.