With over 300 racetracks spread across Australia, it is easy to understand why so many people enjoy watching horse racing. It is simply a very accessible sport in Australia. However, this can’t be the only reason. To find out why Aussies love horse racing so much, we must go back to the beginning.
An English sport in Australia
Horse racing originated in England and came to Australia with the British settlement in 1788. It was only a matter of time before the sport of horse racing would grow as popular in Australia as it was in England. In the 1790s, not long after the colony had settled, the first horse races took place in Sydney. In the beginning, however, there were no thoroughbreds. The English settlers had to make do with workhorses, but during the 1800s wealthy colonists began to import thoroughbreds to Australia, and thus thoroughbred horse racing took off.
Betting on horse racing
Horse racing may have come to Australia with the first British settlers in 1788, but horse race betting and bookmakers didn’t take form until the mid-1800s. Since then, horse race betting has evolved and grown so popular that it has become synonymous with the sport. Even people who don’t take much interest in the sport place a bet on horse racing. Betting is almost expected when you attend a horse race. You can get tips on horse betting here and take part in the long-lived tradition of horse race betting.
Although horse racing is popular in other countries such as in the UK where the sport originated, no country has a horse race quite like the Melbourne Cup. The race is not only one of the biggest Australian sporting events of the year, but also one of the most prestigious races in the world. The race was first held in 1861 when approximately 4000 people gathered at the Flemington Racecourse. Since then, the Melbourne Cup has become a big part of Australian culture, fittingly named ‘the race that stops a nation. Learn more about the first Melbourne Cup here and find out how the culture of horse racing developed in Australia.
Horse racing became a part of the Australian identity
Horsemanship was a part of 19th-century Australian culture. It became a part of the national identity of Australia. The popularity of horse racing and horsemanship was therefore a natural continuation of a culture that had already developed in Australia. Today, horse racing might be competing with other popular sports such as football and rugby, but it still has a special place in the heart of Australian culture and identity. Click here to read horse racing news and see how popular the sport still is today.