Horse Race in Britain

Many Ideas about modern sport were birthed in England. Semantics such rule forming, the many philosophies associated with sports are all accredited to the British. The whole sports fraternity owes many a sport and their regulations to the British as they took pole position in the early days to reshape how we play games today.

The main reason for the swift development of sport in Britain was due to it being insular and at the same time confident in its practices right from its initial days. Below we take a walk back memory lane looking at three important sporting activities in the United Kingdom.

Horse Racing in Britain

Horse Racing

As a professional sport horse racing in England dates back to 12 Century. The game came to being after a success Arabian Crusade by the English Knights who came back home on Arabian horse back. Due to their prowess in long distance racing, the Arabian horse was bred with the English horse, and that led to the Pure Thoroughbred Horse Breed that is distinguished as a remarkable race horse today.

The 25-year reign of King Charles II (1660-1685), was an important period for horse racing as the king oversaw the development of horse racing and standardized the sport where two horses ran against each other either on open fields or private courses. We are not sure if gambling was commonplace at this time or if there were betting odds as we know it today. However, we know that the King awarded the winners prizes. The Newmarket is touted as being the venue to host the first ever racing sport in Britain.

For twelve years under the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714), the competition included an increased number of horses. The spectating crowds began the phenomenon of placing bets, and soon betting at the race track became a common thing. We can be sure that concepts such as the best odds and betting odds began life during this era. Other than the Sport turning professional, various racecourses and the famous Ascot was founded by her Majesty the Queen, Anne back in 1711.


British Cricket Team 1891

(Image: Team England circa 1891)


Although the sport’s inception period is a bit hazy, one thing’s clear though Cricket is a sport whose origins are deep in the South East sheep-rearing country. The game thrived here thanks to the short grass pastures that made it possible to bowl a ball made either from rags or wool.

Come the 17th century, Cricket became a favourite sport among rural folk. By the 18th century; the wealthy also took it up as a pastime sport in leisure places such as Kent, Sussex and London.

Today, big cricket matches go on as long as five days when either side turns a bat or holds two innings. The game of cricket is played worldwide, and you can bet that the betting odds are carefully monitored by fans and the council governing the game. In the United Kingdom, the sport’s primary focus is the country’s championships. The one-day and four-day competitions run concurrently in summer.

Team England Football 1893

(Image: Team England circa 1893)


The history of football goes back a long way. Credible sources place the introduction of football as a sport in England to 1170. However, elsewhere in the world, (China to be more precise), the game was played as early as the 2nd century BC.

Almost 100 years after its introduction by 1280 there were many reports of a game that involved “kicking a ball”. By 1314 the game started to be referred to as “football” and not too long after an increase in popularity the game suffered its first setback. It was banned by the Mayor of London as the game was seen as a disturbance of the King’s peace and was thought to be a potential evil which would cause commotion among the citizens. In 1409 it was officially called football reference by the King in a letter referring to the game.

The sport after going through bans and success throughout the years was later transcended into class divisions during the 18th century. The context for precise sporting rules was hence forged. 1848 is the year in which the goalies, throw-ins and goal kicks were instituted.

Over the years, the sport grew bigger, and people started betting on teams. Within no time, things such as professional bookmakers were created and just like in horse racing and cricket we can be sure that gambling was a big factor in the development and rise in popularity of the game.

Now the world over is overridden with football fanatics. The sport’s popularity is widespread making it the most watched, loved and bet on sport in the planet today.

This article was written by John Hawthorne who is a travel and sports writer. When he’s not researching his next destination he writes for

Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

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