There are few more popular sporting events to attend across the world than horse racing. The sport offers the unique ability to get dressed up in fancy clothes and attend sporting events at the very highest level.
While some of the biggest races on the calendar take place outside of Asia, horse racing in Thailand remains extremely popular. Horse racing events are among the most popular sports to place bets on at Thaicasinocenter.org, with the global races being the most popular, as spectators get to watch the action live. In this article, we will take a look at the history of horse racing in Thailand, and some of the biggest races on the calendar.
Unlike many countries where horse racing is popular, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the sport really took off in Thailand. A number of different courses across the country enabled fans to watch the action, and this saw the sport reach a peak of its popularity in the mid-20th century. But, since then, there has been a diminishing interest in the sport on the whole.
However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a very popular day out for the family, with a day at the races often being an excellent networking opportunity for those elite members of society, while those from low-income households also attend a day at the races to place bets.
The first race in the country was staged in 1897, and the Royal Bangkok Sports Club was founded in 1901. It was the brainchild of King Chulalongkorn following his visit to Europe, where he saw the overwhelming success that the sport achieved. The RBSC was soon replaced by the Royal Turf Club in 1916 before it was later terminated in 2018 to develop the King Rama IX Memorial Park.
Race days at the Nang Loeng Racecourse were staged every other Sunday before its closure, and they were popular among certain sectors of the Thai audience. There were a total of three different sale regions, with the most prestigious granting access to the upper levels of the grandstand. However, every racegoer looking to attend a meeting had to be at least 20, with the average age of fans being between 45-80.
Thai courses offered a true day-out experience, with all courses having vendors outside the track that sell programs, food, and drinks. Previously, fans could also rent a pair of smart shoes to wear at the track, but this was later replaced with other vendors as track rules on clothing began to change.
There were three major races held at the track throughout its history, with the most prestigious of these being the Derby Cup, which was staged annually in January. The Presidents Cup was also one of the most lucrative races on the calendar and was held in June. Meanwhile, the final big race on the Nang Loeng calendar was the Ramraghav Cup, which was held annually in November.
While the success of the sport in Thailand is undeniable, it’s fair to say that the biggest victories for the nation were scored abroad by King Power Racing. Founded by the late Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the group went on to achieve a number of milestone victories across Europe on the track.
One of their most poignant victories came shortly after the tragic death of Srivaddhanaprabha, as Donjuan Triumphant landed the Listed Wentworth Stakes. The horse was one of the most successful competitors for the owners based in Thailand, as he often made the frame in Group 1 company throughout his career.
One of the other flag bearers for the King Power Racing group was the aptly named Bangkok. Trained by Andrew Balding, the son of Australia landed four victories from 15 starts in stakes company. The last of those was scored in the G2 York Stakes in July 2021.
King Power Racing continue to dominate on track to this day, as they have won 98 times from 155 runners over the past five years. The most successful runner in 2022 was The Foxes, who landed two wins from four starts, which included success in the G2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.
Could Horse Racing Gain Popularity?
Thailand is a sports-crazy country, but horse racing has yet to catch on to the popularity of football and boxing. It is unlikely to change in the upcoming years, but continuous success for King Power could be a watershed moment that changes everything in 2023.