UK Horseracing Industry
Horseracing is second only to football in terms of attendances, jobs supported, tax contribution and capital investment.
Horseracing sustains over 18,600 full time jobs, including:
• 4-500 full time jockeys
• 592 licensed racehorse trainers
• 1,800 full time staff in racecourses
• 60 racecourse
• 2,500 full time equivalent race-day employees
Horse racing is governed by the British Horseracing Authority. Other important bodies are:
• The Racecourse Association
• Jockey Club
Horseracing was first regulated when the Jockey Club (established in 1750), developed the Rules of Racing. The UK is also an important centre for racehorse breeding; all modern thoroughbred racehorses can be traced back to three foundation sires that were imported to Britain in the late 17th century. The General Stud Book, first published by James Weatherby still records details of every thoroughbred racehorse.
There are two main forms of horse racing that take place under the Rules of the Jockey Club:
• Flat racing, which is run over distances between 5 furlongs and 2 miles 5 furlongs 159 yards, on courses without obstacles.
• National Hunt racing, which is run over distances between 2 miles and 4½ miles, where horses jump either hurdles or steeplechase fences. There are also National Hunt flat races called Bumpers.
Point to point racing is steeplechasing for amateur riders and is run under different rules.
There are 59 licensed racecourses in the UK. The oldest is Chester Racecourse, which dates to the early 16th century. The UK is home to five Classic Flat Races; the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, The Oaks, The Derby and the St. Leger. The well known National Hunt races include the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National at Aintree, which has an estimated global audience of 600 million viewers.
Frankie Dettori is possibly the jockey with the widest public profile beyond racing. While the most-celebrated jump jockey is Tony McCoy, the only jockey to ride over 4000 winners and to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.