Horse racing has a very long history, and the reason is not far to seek: it has lasted so long because it is immensely popular. Even people who would never dream of placing a bet may be seen at racecourses around the country, because race meetings present a wonderful spectacle of colour, movement and excitement. A thoroughbred racehorse is a noble beast and the brave men (and some women) who joust with each other on horseback are dressed in spectacularly colourful “silks.” A race meeting is not just a place to watch races – it’s somewhere to socialise, to watch the world go by, to see how the other half lives, and to enjoy a drink and a meal.
More than one industry has grown up around horseracing, though they are closely interconnected. There is breeding and training, and the people who do these things are intertwined with the jockeys who ride the horses. Racing itself is part of the entertainment business, and most racecourses, when they are not holding race meetings, are used for weddings, conferences, and other functions. Then, of course, there is the betting industry which is huge business but which the authorities ensure is kept separate from the training and riding.
Although the small, local racecourses that covered this country 200 years ago have mostly disappeared, there are still courses all over the country and no one who feels like attending a meeting should have to search for long before finding a suitable place and date. It’s worth it for the excitement alone – but a caution must be added and that is: if you want to gamble, only risk an amount you can afford to lose.