Beyond the Racecourse - why horse racing may be coming to a city near you It’s always exciting when there’s a new take on sport that grabs the public’s attention. Of course nowadays even what classifies as a sport is broadening, with the likes of drone racing and eSports becoming the stuff of stadiums. Conversely, sport is also branching out from stadiums and into the centre of our cities. I recall being in awe of a City Games athletics event that I stumbled upon in Manchester city centre a few years back. Competitive high level racing happening right before my eyes, with cheering crowds and captivating coverage of the event for those at home.


It would appear that the emergence of city racing events has not only captured the attention of the public, but also sports execs eager to to bring Horse racing to the city and attract new audiences in the process. Horse racing makes for an intriguing sport to lend to a city games format, because it already has an extensive history on courses around the country and indeed the world. The regular racing viewer though, is likely to be distinct from the broad audience that would be watching on the day, so there’s potential for fresh appeal. That’s much needed for any sport at a time where there’s countless TV channels, betting and sporting options available to us.


According to horse racing betting site ,  the brainchild behind this bold venture is Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest grandson, and he recently took the time to lay out his plan for City Racing, covering areas such as setting up the track and numerous betting considerations. Safety too, of both the public and the horses, is a paramount consideration. This has been no overnight whim either, the plan took root back in 2014 as result of a successful Champions Tour show jumping event on Horse Guards Parade in London. Peter Phillips approach to investment in the project was novel, as he stood before a crowd to announce that City Racing was “a bloody good idea”.


His plans are ambitious to say the least. After trialing the surface on a road at Aintree racecourse late last year, the plan is now to stage five furlong races on temporary synthetic surfaces layered with sand at prominent landmarks around the world. The cream of the racing crop would take part and crowds, separated by a railing and able to bet, would be allowed within metres of the action. The venture is partnership with jockey club and others.


Paul Fisher, chief executive of the Jockey Club – and owner of courses countywide, has designs on using this exciting format as way of breathing new life into racing and bringing in a “a younger, urban audience”.


So where will we be able to see City Racing, you’re likely asking yourself? Well,  ticking every box isn’t easy for such a new and ambitious venture, but Collins Street in Melbourne is said be already be under consideration, as well locations in Asia, the Middle East and the United States. Beyond that, the mouthwatering prospect of London city racing could become a reality within the next two years, according to The Standard. London Mayor, Sadiq Khan is said to be a keen supporter of the idea. It’s hoped that many thousands of people would attend to watch horse racing in such a setting, with entertainment accompanying the spectacle. Eight runners would take part with world renowned jockeys riding horses at the venues in a points based system.


Peter Phillips threw a 10,000 person 90th birthday party for the Queen back in 2016, so is not easily intimidated by big ideas. The City Racing chief executive clearly has stellar contacts and a passion for horse racing, so exciting times lie ahead for the sport.

A Brief History of UK Horse Racing When it comes to placing bets, horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the UK. It’s also one of the most frequent, with over 20 races each day in the UK alone, according to redbet. But despite its immense popularity today, the sport hasn’t always had the same mainstream recognition. Let’s take a look back at where it all began.

Ancient history

The first horse races are thought to have begun in 200 AD in Yorkshire, with Romans racing Arabian horses at Wetherby. However, from ancient reports and findings, the English didn’t start to saddle their horses until around 631 AD.

The first recorded race meetings took place during Henry II’s reign, at the annual St Bartholomew’s horse fair. There are numerous recordings suggesting that, for the next three centuries, the Kings of England kept ‘running horses’, continuing into the reign of Henry VIII.

Tudor times

During Henry VIII’s reign, there are more substantial recordings of horse racing. He himself passed various laws relating to the breeding or horses for racing purposes, as well as importing a number of horses for his own breeding. The King also kept a training establishment at Greenwich and housed a horse at Eltham.

It is believed that the first trophy – a wooden bat covered in flowers – for winning a race was awarded in 1512. Just seven years later, the Kiplingcotes Derby, the oldest horse race still in existence, was first ran in 1519.

Highs & lows

Just like all other entertainment sectors, horse racing has had its fair share of highs and lows, with interest dipping significantly during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. But that changed again in 1605, with James I’s discovery of Newmarket, widely considered as the home of England’s horse racing.

The first Gold Cup event took place at Newmarket in 1634, with the racecourse being firmly established in 1636. After the founding of Newmarket racecourse, racing started to take off around the country, with runners competing for silver bells. Racing rules were created, and the weights of jockeys started to be diligently measured and recorded for a fair race.

Horse racing suffered another drastic dip in 1654, however, when Oliver Cromwell banned racing and all horses were commandeered. But this ban only lasted a decade, with racing being restored in 1664 and three foundation breeds being brought into England to establish a key line of thoroughbreds.

Introduction of Ascot

In the early 18th century, horse racing gained a renewed level of prestige when Queen Anne, who owned a number of horses herself, founded the Royal Ascot racecourse. Even today, the opening race of each Royal Ascot is named the Queen Anne Stakes.

Today, the Royal Ascot is Britain’s most popular race meeting. It also has the largest prize fund, giving out around £7.3 million in prize money each year.

Modern racing

In the 19th century, the first steeplechasing races were organised, shaping racing into the sport we know today. The world famous Grand National race was established at Aintree towards the end of the 19th century, starting the annual tradition that saw around 600 million people tuning in to watch the race last year.

Today, horse racing is as popular as ever, making around £4.3 billion between April 2017-March 2018 from off-course bets alone. There are a number of races taking place every day at the 60 courses across Britain. So, whether you’re a lifelong racing supporter or just tune in for the big events, you’re sure to find something for you.

Grand National Betting Odds Rejoice horse racing fans! We are nearing one of the most exciting races of the year – the Grand National. The next handicap steeplechase at Aintree will start on April 4th with the opening day and end in stylish fashion two days later.

For those unaware, the Grand National is one of the most prestigious races on the annual horse racing calendar, drawing the attention of thousands of fans and punters. It’s a prominent event in British culture and the richest jump race in Europe – in 2017, the prize purse was a million pounds. With over 30 fences to be jumped and more than 4 gruelling miles ahead of the competitors, it’s everything horse racing fans want and more.

Of course, in the true vein of horse racing, there are plenty of betting options available. Every year, bookies have a wide range of Grand National betting offers months before the event so punters can plan ahead and pick their favourites. Every year, punters stake more than £150 million on the race, which is a true indicator of how popular it is.

2019 Grand National Odds Preview

With 40 runners starting the race each year, picking a favourite for the Grand National isn’t easy. Surprises have been known to happen and punters know that the heavy favourite isn’t always the right pick. The tough race track conditions at the Grand National make it one of the hardest horse races to predict. However, if you’re a true horse racing fan, you’ll know where to get your tips and hopefully predict the winner.

This year’s handicap steeplechase received 112 entries (47 from Ireland). Only 40 runners will start, though, each one with a chance at earning the hefty prize. Of course, not all horses will get the same odds. Not that those ranked highest will definitely win. Throughout its illustrious history, the Grand National has seen many 100/1 winners, so experienced punters know that the biggest favourite will not always win. With that being said, we’re going to give you several tips that can help you win your bets for the upcoming Grand National.

Go for Horses with Previous Experience

If they did it once, they might do it again. Horses with previous experience in the Grand National have been known to perform well. We’re not saying that they will surely win the race, but you’re better off with a horse that has already run at the Aintree racecourse before.

Stay Away from the Obvious

As we already said, those big names the media hypes up weeks before the race often become a major disappointment. If you want to increase your chances of winning, look away from the obvious. Plus, those high-profile horses from the top stables rarely have any good value in terms of odds, nor do they have a great track record at Aintree.

Compare Prices and Find Good Value

If you want to find the best deals and raise your chances of winning your bets, you need to compare prizes and be a bit more price sensitive. Do your homework and shop around – chances are that some other bookie offers better odds on your favourites than your favourite shop.

Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew

Raising your stakes and betting out of normal size is a recipe for disaster. As we already mentioned, the Grand National is pretty hard to predict, so stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to betting can have catastrophic consequences. Just stick to your budget and hope for the best. Of course, after doing your homework.