One in five Brits admit they are “fair weather” horseracing fans – with half becoming equestrian “experts” whenever there’s a big event like Cheltenham or the Grand National. Researchers polled 2,000 adults, and found 20 percent will become racing fans just for the duration of these events – although this fleeting interest could lead to a year-round love for the sport.
As many as 90 percent of followers of the big three racing events – Cheltenham, Grand National, and Ascot – will have a flutter, typically placing a stake on six races.
And 26 percent take their interest to another level by purchasing a copy of the Racing Post in a bid to find an “absolute cert”.
Meanwhile, nearly one in three (31 percent) have arranged social get-togethers so they can enjoy all the highs and lows of race day with family and friends.
But this momentary interest in the sport isn’t limited to events like Cheltenham – the research, commissioned by 888sport, found it even happens with football.
As many as 39 percent of those polled said they’ll only follow major international tournaments like the Euros and the World Cup – or just watch the FA Cup Final.
More than a third (35 percent) only follow tennis during Wimbledon, while 23 percent only watch rugby during the Six Nations, and 18 percent only tune in to Formula 1 when the British GP takes place.
A spokesman for 888sport said: “There are many great racing events throughout the year, but Cheltenham is one of the biggest.
“The fact that so many people are interested in these events, despite not typically following the sport, shows the appeal that Cheltenham and other events hold.
“Across the 28 races there will be twists, turns, and upsets galore, spectators will be on the edge of their seats – we can’t wait.
“And their interest in the sport could capture their imagination so much they might even start to follow it throughout the year.”
The study also found, of the 34 percent of adults who follow horseracing, 51 percent claim to become an expert in it – for the duration of the Grand National, Cheltenham, and Ascot in particular.
And 59 percent of all adults have bet on a horserace at one time or another – with 21 percent claiming to have a good instinct for picking out a winner.
The top three methods used when choosing which horse to place a stake on include its name (21 percent), the odds (21 percent), and past successes of the thoroughbred (20 percent).
Other popular tactics include monitoring the weather conditions (14 percent), tips from racing supplements and blogs (12 percent), and the colour of the jockey’s uniform (10 percent).
More than half (53 percent) have never been to a live racing event – although 40 percent would like to attend one in the future.
The study, carried out through OnePoll, also found 81 percent like to watch the major sport events – the likes of the Superbowl, the Boat Race, and the Ashes.
And 35 percent of those who do this are so passionate about occasions like these, they plan their entire year around them.
One in three followers (34 percent) of major sports also said they like to try out new sports – so perhaps horseracing could be one they get into.
The spokesman for 888sport added: “There are those who like to stick to one or two sports and follow them closely, those who watch everything going, and those who just watch the big events.
“Whatever your preference, there are plenty of events to choose from and enjoy.”