There has been horse racing of sorts for many many years. Horse racing began in Assyria in c. 1500 B.C. and Chariot Racing was a popular occasion in Roman Times. It remained in reality the Romans who are thought to have ran the first horse race in the UK, however the first actual tape-recorded occasion of a meeting was in 1174, this occurred at a horse fair in the north-west part of London called Smithfield.
The Royal Family are behind a lot of the historic advancements that altered and formed racing throughout the years, with Henry II importing horses particularly for breeding and Charles II being the first to present a set of rules in 1664 (for the Newmarket Town Plate). It remained in 1752 the Jockey Club formed and penned The Guidelines of Racing.
First horse races
The Derby is the oldest flat race having started in 1780 at the Earl of Derby's estate in Epsom, it was operated on a sweepstakes basis and is still obviously being run every year now, as is the Grand National which was first run in 1856, however the very first documented national hunt (as we understand it now) race remained in Cork, Ireland in 1752, it was a 4 miles 5 furlongs contest between 2 church steeples and that is the reason the term 'steeplechase' was created.
Purpose and kinds of horse racing
The purpose of a H.race is to determine the fastest of 2 or more horses over a specific range with the first horse to cross the winning line being the winner.
Horse Racing Classifications - Flat
In the UK and Ireland there are three variations of race classifications. The first is Flat Racing, where horses run over a range between 5 furlongs and 2 miles 6 furlongs on grass. The flat season starts in March and goes through to November with varying quality of races with Group 1 contests being the greatest. The youngest horses competing on the flat are 2 years of ages.
Horse Racing Categories - All Weather condition
All Weather condition Racing is the 2nd race category and resembles flat racing aside from contests occur on an artificial surface, which can be utilized throughout the year (thus the name All Weather condition). Many of the All Weather condition H.racing tracks likewise have floodlit tracks indicating they can use night racing.
Horse Racing Categories - National Hunt
The third classification is National Hunt where horses compete on grass over longer ranges varying from 1 mile 6 furlongs (very minimal number of junior bumper races) and 4 miles 4 furlongs. Within National Hunt there are even more category types, these are Bumpers (also referred to as National Hunt Flat races) where there are no barriers and are focused on offering horses the experience of completing on a race track, Chases where the competitors should clear difficulties and fences where they must jump hurdles. This implies for example that you can have a handicap chase or a maiden obstacle etc. The distinction in between a difficulty and a fence is rather significant with a fence being stronger and greater. An obstacle race will just contain difficulties whereas a chase can consist of a range of barriers including water jumps and ditches in addition to fences.
Horse Racing Category
Within each classification of racing there are different types of contests depending on a horse's experience and ability. Normally races are categorised by an age group (for instance 4 year olds+) and/or a main ranking bracket (a score given to each horse by the handicapper based upon its performance to this day). Maiden races are for horses who have not yet won a race. Handicaps are when a horse is weighted based on its past ability - in a perfect world, a handicap should lead to all horses crossing the finish line at horse racing the same time. Nursery races are handicap races on the flat/all weather condition for two years of age horses. Non handicaps are when all horses carry the very same weight (although this figure can be adjusted based upon charges applied as set out in the race terms - for instance the guidelines might state that horses will bring 9 stone but that an extra weight of 3 pounds will be applied to horses who have won in the last 6 weeks).