Horse racing is not only an important British cultural pastime - it is also a vital economic powerhouse. According to the UK Government's own figures, the horse racing industry employs thousands of people and is a vital source of tax revenues, pulling in billions of pounds worth of profits every single year. Event attendance might be down, the popularity of British horse racing does not appear to have waned.
Nonetheless, there are certain parts of the UK that are epicentres of the horse racing industry, owing to the fact that they host some of the world's most important races. As such, horse racing tends to be the primary form of employment in these places.
But where are they? Read on to find out more about the towns that rely on horse racing.
Located six miles south of Windsor Castle, the leafy town of Ascot revolves almost entirely around Ascot Week, a regal horse-racing bonanza that has been a highlight of the Royal Family's social calendar since at least the early 1700s. Celebrities, royals, billionaires, and the who's who of British society descend on this tiny town one week a year, transforming the local economy and filling up the coffers of local businesses.
The sleepy suburb of Aintree in the Sefton region of Merseyside might be close to the booming coastal city of Liverpool, but it is synonymous with what is arguably the most popular horse racing event in the UK - the Grand National. The is one of the world's most widely-broadcasted horse races and the Aintree Racecourse has capitalized on this to play host to high-profile events all year-round, cementing the venue's position as Aintree's largest employer.
The market town of Newmarket in Suffolk is home to two of the UK's most important horse races: the 1000 Guineas and the 2000 Guineas, both of which take place in the spring. These two races are widely covered in the latest horse racing betting news, due to the fact that punters wager huge sums of money on these two races. The income from horse racing and betting are so important to Newmarket that the town even has a National Horseracing Museum - a testament to the importance of the sport to the lifeblood of the town.
Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is known for many things, such as the elite boarding school for girls bearing the same name or the fact that it is home to GCHQ, the UK's premier intelligence agency. In addition, what is arguably the most significant source of revenue for this charming town is the Cheltenham Festival - a four-day racing event that attracts crowds of hundreds of thousands of people who spend more than £100 million on the local economy during that time.
As these examples show, horse racing is about so much more than just entertainment. It is a sacred British pastime that is responsible for countless jobs and plays an integral role in local economies.