This chapter offers a brief history of horseracing, considered to be Britain’s first national sport, and a definition of the distinctively British horseracing film genre. It argues especially that, alongside aesthetic and economic factors, the horseracing film constitutes a viable source for social history, with the on- and off-field re-presentations of the sport and its associated gambling culture an ideological metonym for the concerns of wider British society. It sketches out the enduring preoccupations of the genre which depicts a rigidly ranked society in miniature, with individuals accepting their place in a hierarchy stretching from lordly horse-owners to lowly stable workers, and from the Royal Enclosure to the popular stands, playing out the narrative polarities of (higher class) romance and (lower class) corruption.


British horseracing Genre life-cycle Social history 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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