Horse Racing has been in existence in the UK since 1622, while the first ever racecourse was assembled 14 years later in 1636.
400 years later, racing is the second biggest spectator sport in the UK bringing much excitement to race goers who regularly visit some of the biggest and best courses across the UK.
Racing has become much more than a sport, the relationship between jockeys, trainers and owners towards their horses shows the love for the profession.
Despite quarrels over prize money, an increase in top-notch Flat horses being sold to race overseas, and the same age-old questions over welfare, the sport continues to stand the test of time with the ever improving standards within the industry.
However, almost exactly four centuries after the first ever recorded horse race, what if it all came to an end?
The industry is worth an astonishing £4.1bn to the British economy, while Racing in the UK also provides employment for around 17,000 people.
The BHA reports that there are approximately 14,000 racehorses in the country, and while some of them would be sold to race abroad or used for re-training purposes in fields such as Equestrian, many wouldn’t find it quite so easy.
It’s a sad but likely truth that the vast majority would struggle to find new homes or professions.
There are 59 racecourses in the UK, stretching all the way from Perth to Newton Abbot. They would all be left abandoned, most likely used for new housing, business parks or simply left in a state of neglect.
An end to racing would result in a crippling 1.51% increase to unemployment in Great Britain, with many workers unqualified to switch industries after spending all of their lives with horses.
Richard Wilson, former racing journalist at PA Media and current myracing spokesperson said:
“Seeing the results of AI technology on this topic really created strong emotions. With so many empty training yards, racecourses and stables across the country, it’s a sight we never hope to see in our lifetime.
“The cost to the British economy would be huge, while unemployment figures would rise by an astonishing amount- which is bad enough before you consider the current financial challenges faced by many in this country.
“Another powerful image was that of a racecourse being bulldozed. Enough facilities in this great sport have been left to waste or closed down in the last 20 years; the thought of others joining that list is quite a distressing one.
“I hope that the sport can address current issues relating to prize money and attract the best owners and horses to the UK in order to stop any of these AI images becoming reality.”
Methodology: Statistics and figures were taken from the BHA, BBC and Careers in Racing. Images were drafted using AI software.