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What Horse Races Run Clockwise?

Every horse race is different, but one commonality that all races have is the direction in which the horses run. While some races are run counter-clockwise, there are a variety of horse races that run clockwise. This article will discuss the different types of horse races that run clockwise, the history behind this direction, and the potential benefits of running clockwise for participants.

History of Clockwise Horse Races

Horse racing has been around for centuries and the direction in which the horses run has been a point of debate for most of that time. The earliest horse races were run counter-clockwise and the reason for this is a bit of a mystery. However, it is believed that the ancient Greeks chose this direction due to the belief that the gods favored counter-clockwise motion.

In the late 18th century, horse races began to be held in the United Kingdom and the United States. At this time, the majority of races were still run counter-clockwise. However, some races were held in a clockwise direction, most notably the Grand National races in England. The Grand National was the first race to be run entirely clockwise and the tradition has been upheld ever since.

Types of Clockwise Horse Races

The most well-known type of clockwise horse race is the Grand National, which is held annually in England. This race is a steeplechase and includes numerous obstacles such as fences and ditches. The Grand National is one of the most prestigious races in the world and is a major event in horse racing.

In addition to the Grand National, there are a variety of other horse races that are run clockwise. These include hurdle races, point-to-point races, and even flat races. Hurdle races involve horses jumping over obstacles, while point-to-point races are races that are run over a predetermined distance. Flat races, on the other hand, are races that are run over a flat course.

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Benefits of Clockwise Horse Races

There are a variety of benefits to running clockwise horse races. One of the most obvious benefits is that it ensures that the horses are running in the same direction as the majority of spectators. This can make it easier for fans to follow the race and can create a more exciting atmosphere.

Another benefit is that it eliminates the need for horses to change direction during the race. This can help reduce the risk of horses becoming confused or disoriented, which can lead to accidents. Additionally, running clockwise can also help horses to maintain their speed and momentum, which can increase their chances of winning.

Potential Drawbacks of Clockwise Races

While running clockwise races can have many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. One of the main drawbacks is that horses may have difficulty adjusting to running in the opposite direction. This can be especially true for races that involve obstacles, as horses may have difficulty navigating the course if they are not used to running clockwise.

Additionally, clockwise races can also be more difficult for jockeys to control their horses. This is because the jockeys must adjust their position on the horse to account for the direction of the race. This can be especially difficult for inexperienced jockeys, as they may not be accustomed to changing their position on the horse.


Clockwise horse races are becoming increasingly popular and are a great way to add excitement to a horse race. While there are some potential drawbacks to running clockwise races, the benefits can outweigh the risks. For those looking to add a unique twist to their horse racing event, clockwise races may be the perfect solution.