Horse racing is one of the most popular pastimes across the globe, but maybe none more so than in India. Cricket is the most popular sport in the nation but horse racing has got amazing stats over the years. The audience becomes engrossed in all the action at the track, and some of the most popular races in the world come from the country.
The popularity has soared with the popularity of online sportsbooks that have made it even easier to bet on the biggest races, like the Kentucky Derby or the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But, it is the feeling that punters have when they are trackside that really provides the impression that they are seeing something very unique in sport.
But if in the USA, UK and Ireland the sport is pretty popular, how is it in one of the most populated and booming markets of the world: India? Where should you go in order to watch the most popular races in the country?
Bangalore Race Course
One of the most popular courses in the country can be found in one of the busiest cities and is operated by the Bangalore Turf Club. The course was founded in 1920, and the racing at this course began over 150 years ago. However, the Second World War prevented the ability to have high-quality racing at the track, but that has changed since the end of the War.
The racecourse has become one of the most popular, and can house up to 1,500 viewers, but can be extended to host more depending on the race meeting. The change in elevation throughout the course makes it a hard one to win at, but some of the most entertaining races of the year are held here.
So Bangalore is much entitled with horse racing apart from the city’s team Royal Challengers Bangalore competing in IPL.
Hyderabad Race Course
This racecourse is one of the most prestigious in the country due to the races that are held here throughout the year. Since 1968, the Nizam Gold Cup, President of India Gold Cup and the Deccan Derby have all be held here. This has only seen the track rise in popularity and is the best place to be seen at these events throughout the year.
The track has a Grand Stand that can house 10,000 fans, while the Paddock Viewing can accommodate at least 2,000. The unique aspect of this club is that it boasts two different race tracks. One for the monsoon weather, and another for winter racing. The prior mentioned track in sand-based, while the latter mentioned winter weather track is operational between November and March on a tank bark surface. The monsoon track is 1000 metres longer and is used between July and October.
Hyderabad city has also got an IPL team but horse racing is also popular sport among the city crowd.
Mysore Race Course
One of the most beautiful places in the country to watch racing can be found at the Mysore Race Course. It is the perfect place for Karnataka residents to place their bets as the track is located in the nearby city. The track is operated by the Turf Club with the same name, and typically hosts frequent racing between August and October.
Another aspect that makes this course unique is its exclusivity. Only the most passionate members can join the course; with only 250 members allowed. As well as the racing track, there is also a sand track that can be used for a host of events throughout the year. The horse racing track is 2000 metres long.
Ooty Race Course
The only racecourse that can claim to challenge Mysore for the most picturesque surroundings is the one located at Ooty. The race day activities are operated by the Madras Club, which means there are typically numerous notable races ran here.
The racing here takes place between April and June, and the races are hugely demanding due to the increased altitude of the track. Despite this, it is one of the smaller tracks in the country and only takes up 55 acres of land. Regardless it is a beautiful course to watch some action.
These are the main venues to enjoy live horse racing in India.