Jockey Club

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The Jockey Club is the largest commercial organisation in British horseracing. Although no longer responsible for the governance and regulation of the sport, it owns 14 of Britain's famous racecourses, including Aintree, Cheltenham and Newmarket, amongst other concerns such as the National Stud and property and land management company, Jockey Club Estates. Registered charity Racing Welfare is also a company limited by guarantee with the Jockey Club being the sole member.

Formerly the regulator for the sport, The Jockey Club's responsibilities were transferred to the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (now the British Horseracing Authority) in 2006.



The Jockey Club was founded in 1750, not as a club for jockeys, but rather as one of the most exclusive high society social clubs in the United Kingdom, sharing some of the functions of a gentleman's club such as high-level socialising. The club's first meetings were held at the Star & Garter Pub at Pall Mall, London before later moving to Newmarket[1]; a town known in the United Kingdom as "The Home of Racing". It was historically the dominant organisation in British horseracing, and it remained responsible for its day-to-day regulation until April 2006.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, The Jockey Club had a clubhouse in Pall Mall, where many other gentlemen's clubs were based. The fact that it acquired a governing role in the sport reflected the dominant role of the aristocracy in British horse racing up to the 20th century, and the removal of this role was in part a conscious effect to move the sport away from its patrician image. This can be compared with the way that cricket's Marylebone Cricket Club became the governing body of cricket by default, but later surrendered most of its powers to more representative bodies.

Before 2006, it was one of the three bodies which provided management for horse racing in the United Kingdom in conjunction with the British Horseracing Board (itself an offshoot of The Jockey Club) and the Horserace Betting Levy Board.

The Jockey Club was responsible for:

  • Race course medical and veterinary arrangements for riders and horses
  • Employment and direction of race course Officials
  • The licensing of racecourses
  • Licensing of trainers, riders, valets
  • The registration of owners and stable employees
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Security and anti-doping measures
  • The conduct of racing

The New System

These regulatory responsibilities were transferred to a new Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA) from 3 April 2006.[2]. It should be pointed out that this major re-organisation did not arise from a fundamental failure of the existing arrangements, but an understanding that the old system might not meet modern conditions. The HRA itself ceased to exist on 31 July 2007 as its regulatory duties were merged with the governing responsibility of the British Horseracing Board to create the new British Horseracing Authority.

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