Horse racing, also known as “The Sport of Kings” is gaining in popularity over the last couple of years.
If we go back 30 years ago, we can see that horse racing was very saturated in certain areas like Great Britain, Japan, and the United States, but as time passes other countries are starting to promote the sport by introducing new events, and the number of global fans grows.
Nowadays, horse racing is quite popular but it is still focused on a few countries that account for most of the global fans. You can check here a list of the major horse races worldwide: https://edge.twinspires.com/racing/major-horse-races/
We will take a look at the top 5 countries where horse racing dominates as a sport.
Where is Horse Racing Popular the Most?
The United Kingdom
It is not shocking to find that the country where horse racing started, is the one with the greatest number of fans. Horse racing in the United Kingdom is quite big. In fact, it is the second most popular spectator sport right after football.
As we mentioned before, Great Britain is the birthplace of horse racing and dates back to the days of the Romain Empire, and the first traces of modern horse racing date back to the 18th century when the first Jockey Club was founded.
The UK holds some of the most popular horse racing events in the world, such as:
- The Grand National
- The Epsom Derby
- Royal Ascot
The United States
The United States is another country where horse racing is quite popular as a sport. Even though the US has a quite rich history with horse racing and many prestigious events, horse racing isn’t the second most popular sport in the UK. In fact, there are quite a few sports that are more popular than horse racing.
The trouble with the popularity of horse racing in the United States is because of the betting laws of certain states. Since some states don’t allow betting on horses, the sport cannot grow significantly.
With that said, the US still holds a massive horse racing audience, and quite an impressive section of races, such as:
- Triple Crown Races
- Breeders Cup
- Pegasus World Cup Invitational
Many people don’t know that Australia has quite a rich horse racing community with a long history behind the sport. Australian horse racing is quite similar to the horse racing scene in the UK, which includes flat racing and steeplechase racing.
Here horse racing is the third most popular sport in the country right behind football and rugby. There are also 360 licensed racecourses around the country where big international events are held, such as:
- The Victoria Derby
- Caulfield Cup
- Golden Slipper Stakes
- The Melbourne Cup
We are now moving to Asia, where the horse racing scene is quite impressive. One of the top players in the horse racing industry in Asia is Hong Kong, which is a region in China that holds the greatest number of horse racing enthusiasts.
In Hong Kong, horse racing is in the first place as the most popular spectator sport. The strange thing about the horse racing scene in Hong Kong is that there are fewer jockeys compared to other countries, which is why most horse riders are true stars in Hong Kong.
Another strange thing is that there are only two licensed racecourses, Happy Valley and Sha Tin, where more than 700 races take place each year.
Some of the most popular are:
- Hong Kong Cup
- Hong Kong Mile
- Hong Kong Vase
Among all the countries we mentioned so far, Japan holds the richest horse racing scene. Horse racing in Japan is incredibly popular, and there are more than 21,000 races taking place each year. This means that there are on average around 60 races every day!
The popularity of the sport in Japan has a lot to do with betting. Even though most forms of sports betting are not permitted in Japan, there is an exception made for horse racing and people can place money on their favorite horses.
Horse racing in Japan came from the British people that were living there in the mid-19th century, and the sport spread across the country very fast.
Nowadays, there are plenty of exciting horse racing events in Japan, such as:
- Japan Cup
- Japanese Derby
- Tenno Sho
- Yasuda Kinen