- For the North American thoroughbred horse racing industry see: The Jockey Club.
- For the club that was a fixture of high society in 19th century Paris see: Jockey-Club de Paris.
Template:TOCright The Jockey Club is a British private members' club concerned with the sport of horse racing. Established around 1750, the club's first meetings were held at the Star & Garter Pub at Pall Mall, London before later moving to Newmarket; 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. Since then it has focused on its commercial activities; it continues to own and manage 14 racecourses through Jockey Club Racecourses, and it also owns 4,500 acres (18 km²) of training grounds at Newmarket, and 500 acres (2 km²) of training grounds at Lambourn through Jockey Club Estates.
The Jockey Club is not a club for jockeys. Rather it has traditionally been 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. Many of the members are racehorse owners. Indeed, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it 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
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 New System
These regulatory responsibilities were transferred to a new Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA) from 3 April 2006.. 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.
The 'Jockey Club Racecourses' was formerly called Racecourse Holdings Trust. The fourteen racecourses owned by Jockey Club Racecourses are set out below. They are divided into "large" and "smaller" courses as on the club's official site. The counties in which they are located are also shown.
- Aintree - Merseyside
- Cheltenham - Gloucestershire
- Epsom - Surrey
- Haydock Park - Lancashire
- Kempton Park - Surrey
- Newmarket - Suffolk
- Sandown Park - Surrey
- Carlisle - Cumbria
- Exeter - Devon
- Huntingdon - Cambridgeshire
- Market Rasen - Lincolnshire
- Nottingham - Nottinghamshire
- Warwick - Warwick
- Wincanton - Somerset
- List of London's gentlemen's clubs