At NetBet, we are counting down the days to the Grand National with bated breath. As the biggest race of the year returns for another renewal, we’re wondering what it is about the horses that seems so magical compared to other sports. After all, there are other types of races out there to gamble on, but nothing comes close to the thrill of betting on a horse. Especially if you are lucky enough to spectate the event live.
After some thought, we came up with some reasons as to why we’re so in love with horse racing.
The grandeur of the event
There’s no denying the sophistication of a day at the races. Everyone who goes really gets into the spirit of the day with formal dress codes, champagne and the possibility of seeing royalty. Just as anticipated as the race itself, everyone eagerly awaits what people will be wearing and who will be in the most exclusive enclosures.
Because a day at the races isn’t just about finding your seat and sitting there until the end, there’s more scope to the event. Taking in the track, the enclosures, and the parade are all opportunities to see and be seen. This makes the races feel more like a grand day out rather than simply a spectator event. In fact, it’s entirely possible to go the whole day and not see a second of racing!
Horses are unpredictable beasts
Has Harry Kane ever run up to take a penalty and then come to a dead stop in front of the ball? Does Andy Murray ever throw the ball up for a serve and not swing his racket? Has Tom Daley ever approached the edge of the diving board to only do a bomb? If they were Grand National winning horses they might! You may tear your hair out over human athletes not doing what you expect, but they have nothing on our four-legged beasts.
No other sport has the possibility of a ‘refusal’, where even dead certs and grand champions have it in them to just stop at jump. Or buck and rear to unseat their rider. Or make a mad dash anywhere but the finish line. When it comes to horses, anything is possible.
So this unpredictability leads to some surprising results, which makes interesting watching whether you have had a flutter or not. In other sports, going for the favourite is a safe option that will likely pay out, but you never have that guarantee at the races. Outliers will win out of nowhere, making some punters rich overnight.
From journalists to jockeys, there’s always someone that will hold the attention of a crowd of racegoers. The TV cameras always love to crowd around Frankie Dettori to see him do his famous flying dismount.
The presenters are always worth a watch too. There’s Clare Balding always keeping it light and friendly until slipping up and coming out with the suggestion that Grand National winning jockey, Liam Treadwell, fix his teeth with the winnings. And then there’s horseracing’s resident eccentric, John McCririck, whose deerstalker hat and mutton chops were a firm fixture on Channel 4 racing. Matt Chapman is the current enthusiast that’s engaging viewers and helping to bring in a new audience to ensure that the sport remains relevant in the current market.
From breeding to race day
Breeding and training a racehorse is an art that has no equivalent in other sports. It would be like Gareth Southgate hand rearing the England squad from birth only to send them to the glue factory if they don’t qualify for the World Cup.
Because the process of creating a champion is so long and involved, taking immense dedication, people get very emotional over their horses. From small foals to the powerful, majestic animals they grow into it’s just their money the owners see out there, it’s their life’s work.