Horse racing has a long history and can be traced back to chariot racing in Ancient Greece. The sport has moved on a long way since then and thousands of horse racing fans flock to racetracks around the world every week to follow the action.
What is it about horse racing that draws so many people to the racetrack? Why is the sport so popular?
Betting has been closely linked with horse racing for many years and despite the rise in online betting, nothing beats the thrill of betting at the racetrack itself. Betting on horse racing has long been a British pastime and watching the odds appear on the board before placing a bet is very exciting.
Seeing the tic-tac man seemingly wave his hands about in a comical fashion has always been a source of enjoyment for those at the races. However, there is a serious element to this and the bookmaker is communicating the odds of horses using hand signals because it would be impossible to shout. If a large bet has been placed on a specific horse for example, the bookmaker would signal to others so they can adjust their odds accordingly.
Only a few racetrack bookmakers in the UK continue to use this method but it certainly entertains the crowds. With the advances in mobile betting and wagering online, it is no surprise that a lot of betting on UK horse racing has moved online.
Choosing which horse to back is also a lot of fun. One of the reasons why betting on horse racing is so popular is because anyone can do it and win. While being an expert can certainly help in the long term, a day out at the races can produce unexpected winnings for a novice. Punters choose to back horses for a number of reasons, ranging from form to a funny name. It is surprising how many people will bet on a horse based on the name alone, some of which can be outrageous.
Arguably the most thrilling part of betting on horse races is the race itself. Having placed a bet, you now have a horse to cheer on as it gallops along the track. The speed horses travel during a race is phenomenal and you need to be at the racetrack to truly appreciate what these magnificent animals are capable of doing.
When flat racing, the horses are essentially in a straight race against each other across a set distance to the finish line. However, jump racing, which is commonly known as steeplechasing, is when horses have jumps to clear and this can add to the level of excitement.
Seeing your horse cross the finish line in first place having placed a bet is a tremendous feeling. Having been swept along by the crowds, many of which will have their fists in their air as the horses approach the line, seeing the one you backed succeed is fantastic.
Going to collect your winnings from the bookmaker is a special moment. The crowd are murmuring, some happy while others are discussing what went wrong. In terms of betting, there is nothing like being at the races.