The racing business between the wars
in Horseracing and the British 1919–39

Racing contributed significantly to national economic turnover, and in turn wider British economic pressures impacted on racing. The racing industry was amongst the largest and most sophisticated of leading British industries between the wars, yet was also highly conservative, and often unprofitable for its investors. Racing was a traditional sport with long-standing roots in local communities, and many racecourses were of ancient date. The long-term trend of flat-race runner numbers was rising over the interwar years. Some data on the numbers of breeders, owners, jockeys and those involved in the training of racehorses are provided. The complex inter-relationships between the presentations of racing and betting in the media, and the ambiguous, complicated and highly nuanced ways in which attitudes to betting on races varied socially, culturally and politically in British society are also discussed.


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