While India will always be a nation that is obsessed with cricket, it seems that more and more people are starting to enjoy horse racing as a spectator sport. Horse racing has been run in India for well over 200 years, and online innovations have recently helped a new generation of people enjoy the ‘sport of kings.
Thanks to increased coverage on top racing television programs like Sport of Kings and Racing 1, more people are starting to understand that racing offers just as much excitement as any Indian Premier League cricket game.
Plus there’s a growing number of reputable bookmakers coming to India like www.horsebetting.com/bookmakers/netbet/ that offer racing fans a safe and easy way to bet on top races anywhere from Kolkata to Bangalore. So does the Indian horse racing scene have what it takes to take on those horse racing powerhouses like the UK, Australia, Ireland, and the USA?
Reasons for optimism in Indian horse racing
Even with the ravages of the pandemic, India has managed to enjoy yet another successful horse racing season. The economic cost of the lack of spectators is still hard to calculate, but hopes are high that things will return to normal soon.
This means that fans will soon be able to attend some of the classic Indian horse races. December is always a big month in Indian horse racing with the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas races attracting huge numbers of spectators. It’s also true that the Indian Oaks is one of the highlights of the Indian racing calendar and it always forms an excellent warm-up to the world-famous Indian Derby.
The Indian Derby is traditionally run at the start of February and is renowned for the size of its prize purse. Recent years have seen the Indian Derby won by the likes of War Hammer, Star Superior, and Rochester, and it’s a race that frequently attracts the attention of numerous racing fans all over the world.
India has also produced no shortage of champion racehorses with legendary runners like Elusive Pimpernel and Squanderer racking up an incredible number of wins. Not that these star performers were restricted to claiming incredible victories on Indian Turf. After all, you just have to look at the performances of Beat It Dude and Astonish to see that Indian racehorses can claim impressive victories overseas. All of which paints a bright picture for the future of horse racing in India.
Where can Indian horse racing go from here?
It’s worth noting that four of the five ‘classic’ Indian horse races are held at the famous Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai. This means that there’s a call for the horse racing industry to become more evenly spread across the whole of the nation.
The fact that the Indian St Leger has successfully run in Pune every September is a testament to the fact that Indian horse racing doesn’t need to be concentrated in one particular area. Plus it’s worth noting that several celebrated Indian racetracks like the Madras Race Club and the Royal Calcutta Turf Club are a testament to the diversity of horse racing across India.
As always it’s the lack of funding that could hamper India’s progression to taking on the major powers in the horse racing world. The lack of revenues as a result of the prohibition on homegrown gambling has meant that Indian racing simply lacks the investment afforded to other countries like the UK and Ireland. Despite this, hopes are high that India can continue to develop its impressive horse racing scene.