This volume studies the formative period of racing between 1790 and 1914. This was a time when, despite the opposition of a respectable minority, attendance at horse races, betting on horses, or reading about racing increasingly became central leisure activities of much of British society. The author challenges many of our preconceptions about racing. He shows the importance of racing and betting to many of the middle classes in Victorian Britain; the very early commercialisation of the sport; and the limited power of the Jockey Club before the late 1860s. He explores the value of racing to the working classes, the gentry and aristocracy, tracing the sport's development in an age of technological change and the growth of the popular press.