The Unpredicted Popularity of Horse Racing in India

Horse racing has fast become one of the most fitting forms of entertainment within India and all over the world. Not only watching it has become of huge interest, betting on horse racing in India has most definitely surged in popularity over the years, there is no doubt about that.

Many people think of cricket as one of the most popular sports within India, however India has very much expanded and branched out to other sports in terms of actually participating.

Football is of course a super-popular sport internationally, not just in India. Yet, what makes horse racing particularly intriguing and inclusive to the sports community within the region is the fact there are actually big horse racing events that take place within the country, several in fact, that occur each and every year.

That gives racing fans something to look forward to, but also ensures they can plan their sports calendar throughout the year, to make sure they catch these events live. Within this article, we will take a look in-depth at the history of horse racing in particular, to assess the future and rising popularity of the sport within India.

History of Racing in India

Since 1777 in India, there have been horse racing tracks established within the region. Over the years its popularity grew and expanded. It began within India, due to the colonisation of the British during this particular period. The sport originally British, was introduced as a form of entertainment and gradually it was more and more accepted and looked upon fondly by the nation.

It became a sport that attracted huge crowds, which explains why India needed to build six huge venues across the region, that are now the core of horse racing events that occur today. 

The five races that have become established within India today, include the Indian 1000 and 2000, the Indian St. Leger, The Indian Derby and the Indian Oaks. These races all take place within Mumbai and Pune, so usually horse racing fans will flock to these two particular spots each and every year.

Despite there being multiple horse racing options within India, it is the Derby that is seen as the most elite and desired within the horse racing community. That particular race is one that attracts the greatest numbers and does of course in turn generate the most betting potential too.

In 1943, the first horse race was held for the Derby specifically, and since its launch and introduction it has become a highlight of the sporting calendar in India.

There are many memorable moments that have been witnessed and recorded at the event, particularly the Kheem Singh victory of 1948. This victory represented a key moment where the official dominance of foreign riders within India was ended. Now many of the jockeys that participate in the race are of Indian background and heritage. It is something highly valued for Indians in particular, and being that the sport is now seen as their own baby, it is something to be treasured.

The War Hammer win in 2020, from jockey Suraj Naredu, was one of the most memorable moments in India’s racing history. He even tweeted after the memorable day and expressed how many doubted him and his willingness to attend multiple races within one month. What a lionheart he turned out to be. 

Projections for the future 

The future and horizon of horse racing within India will of course healthily grow and move forward as one of the biggest sports in the region. There is no doubt that this love and excitement will be passed onto the future generations to come, as after all it is something that has been around since 1777, and as the years went by, it only grew. Who can now stop and say that it will not get any bigger than what it is currently?

Many fans of the sport believe that the next steps forward are the participation of Indian jockeys further afield and in more internationally known races. There is no reason why this cannot be a possibility, as if jockeys are making a name for themselves in the biggest races and venues of the country, they can very easily migrate towards big events such as the Melbourne Cup etc. But what is really stopping them?

Obviously, many people will already know that the horse Mystical fulfilled many hopes and dreams within India, being an Indian horse with the most wins in Dubai.

Yet, we believe soon we will almost certainly see more of this, with many examples of Indian successes abroad. It will just be a case of waiting and then seeing when and where. Without a doubt there will be far more to report on, as Indian horse racing is growing and on the cusp of greatness.



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