US Should Take a Leaf Out of UK’s Horse Racing Book
Despite the fact that the US still boast some of the most anticipated horse races in the calendar, the UK hold all the aces when it comes to other aspects of the sport, with purity, wagering, accessibility and viewing all light years ahead at major events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National. Although ante-post odds betting may well remain a popular pastime across the globe, meetings such as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup have lost considerable ground to the UK’s best events over recent years.
For starters, the lush green grass of UK horse racing as opposed to the dirt tracks stateside already give venues such as Royal Ascot, Epsom and Glorious Goodwood a major head start when it comes to the authenticity of a major event. Despite several American venues offering spectacular backdrops, such as the San Gabriel Mountains beyond Santa Anita, the racetracks themselves simply cannot compete with those in the UK.
There is little more pleasing for horse racing supporters than watching some of Europe’s best horses striding out towards the starting gates at Aintree or Ascot. With 2016’s Grand National raising the bar even further, why not pick a horse with ante-post odds for next year’s meeting and cash in on one of the most iconic events in the racing calendar. Bookmakers Betway are offering 2015 winner Many Clouds as the current favorite for the Grand National with odds of 20/1.
Meanwhile, as far as the purity of the sport is concerned, there is also no competition between the US and UK. Strict whip laws, no medication, severe penalties, as well as less tolerance for rule breaking means that racing in the UK is far less tainted, and maintains a level of dignity.
With horses in the UK running significantly slower than in the US for the majority of the race, the amount of injuries is also at a far better rate. Fatalities in Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup events over recent years have tainted the sport in America, with the inability to locate the reason for such losses only helping to condemn the sport further.
The betting culture within the UK is something that the US cannot compete with, with the number of bookmakers offering ante-post odds increasing by the week. However, due to the American public gaining access to crucial training information due to daily racing forms, they can easily analyze statistics in order to give them a better chance of winning big on major races. While punters in the UK do not have such information when looking to place a bet with a bookmaker such as Betway, the amount of money placed on the 2017 Grand National is expected to reach record highs.
Perhaps one area in which the US can get one up on the UK is the perspective of fans and media at the racecourses themselves. The horses are significantly closer to the fans in America, with some horses at UK events such as Newmarket and Ascot appearing as if they are nothing more than specks in the distance.
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