What makes horse racing such a popular spectator sport?
Horse racing is a sport that pulls in fans and followers from all over the world. It’s very popular in Brighton, of course! However, what is it about racing that appeals to the average racegoer or punter?
Is it the thrill of the chase? The traditions? In many cases, it’s the thrill of winning big money. However, there is something about following your favourite filly to the finishing post. Ask anyone who heads to the Cheltenham Festival or the Grand National year after year!
Let’s consider why people still love horse racing – even a century on – as events start to come back into force through the opening up of lockdown.
Big win opportunities
Of course, it’s fairly apparent that for some people, the thrill of watching a horse race lies in how much of a win they’ve made from a runner! Big festivals can pull in big crowds, which means big money for riders and owners.
There’s a reason why so many people look for Cheltenham Thursday tips from festival to festival. The website linked here is an excellent spot for you to find some great racing tips.
That said, many people love the adrenaline that watching an exciting race produces without having to bet any cash. If you can enjoy a horse race without having to spend any money, then more power to you!
We love animals
Horse racing welfare has improved dramatically over the years. Sadly, while horses are still at risk in some ways when running steeplechases and hurdle events, there have been comprehensive moves to ensure that runners receive the love, care, and attention they deserve.
We are a nation of animal lovers. Whether you care for a dog, a cat, a bird – it’s safe to say that British people love having something furry, feathered, or four-legged to look after. Horses are high on the popularity list.
Many people head to horse racing festivals and events purely to see these gorgeous animals in their element. They are magnificent beasts – when looked after and cared for properly, it’s clear to see that a thoroughbred genuinely enjoys what it does.
It’s a genuine rush
As mentioned, it’s not always about betting! Picking a runner and a rider and following them to the finish can be a real thrill. It’s exciting enough to watch your chosen steed run all the way to the winning post on TV or via a streaming, but actually being there in person is a different matter.
Horse races can be short sprints on the flat or longer endurance races over jumps, and regardless, the tension is palpable. This is also an event where you are likely to see significant changes in the final few seconds of a race. Major upsets are all too common, where a horse will come out of nowhere and pass the leader to claim the race. For the jockey, it’s all about ensuring that their horse retains stamina for that final push.
Therefore, watching any kind of horse racing – betting or otherwise – provides a fantastic adrenaline burst.
The atmosphere is electric
If you’ve never been to a race or a festival before, you’re likely missing out. There’s a reason why events such as Ascot and Cheltenham focus just as much on the outfits worn by the racegoers and the atmosphere as the races themselves.
The atmosphere at a horse racing festival is always likely to be absolutely buzzing. Yes, there may be cases where people end up losing on their bets, but there is still a grand, social feeling about attending a race meeting that makes things that little bit special. People dress up in grandiose outfits and many sip champagne – it’s a genuinely electric tradition for many punters and attendees, which is why it’s likely to be a massive draw for many years to come.
What about horse racing post-COVID?
While much horse racing, and other sporting action, has been curtailed pending relief from the coronavirus pandemic, we are yet to see a big return to ‘normal’ for the racing scene.
With vaccines coming into the mainstream and with roadmaps to provide relief to millions, things are starting to get exciting again in the world of racing. Chances are, once normality resumes, horse racing will pick up again right where it left off – immensely popular, incredibly fun, and full of electric atmosphere that will inspire generations of visitors to keep coming back.
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