Horse racing is what was once called the sport of kings. Continue reading to know more about the top three horse racing scenes in Pakistan amongst what is otherwise a very slow online betting market.
Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup
First on the list is the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is considered the flagship event of the Karachi Race Club. 2020’s Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup saw Royal Ransom as its winner. Royal Ransom had previously settled for 2nd runner-up in the Quaid-e-Azam Trial Cup before winning the Gold Cup.
The win is even more impressive, considering it was an upset. Royal Ransom beat three-time champion Big Bravo by two lengths. Coming in third was War It, and completing the foursome was Big Faith. Royal Ransom’s victory was also the first win under the belt for the owner and trainer.
Aside from horse racing, the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Cup is also home to the open Polo championship. The 57-year-old competition kicked off its 2021 season last march 8th at the famous Lahore Polo Club. The ten teams competing are split into two groups. The teams aren’t just composed of local teams, but international players are competing, set to showcase their Polo skills.
If horse racing is considered the Sport of Kings, Polo is regarded as the game of kings and knights. The two-week championship presents a platform for exciting competition with the best of the best polo players.
The Karachi Derby is another event held by the Karachi Race Club. The Karachi Race Club, or KRC, is the home of the biggest racecourse in Pakistan. When Pakistan gained independence in the late 40s, there were just two available racecourses in Pakistan.
The Karachi Race Club and the Lahore Race Club. The KRC was founded in 1913 and has changed its location multiple times. It can be found today at Deh Safroon, in Karachi. The club holds around ten races every Sunday.
The KRC used to race around 1,200 horses owned by members of the upper half of the society. The Karachi Race Club has spent over a decade and a half to attract high-profile racehorse owners to increase the number of races and the number of wages to be made.
The Pakistan Derby is probably the most elite event when it comes to horse racing in Pakistan. The derby is held in the LRC or Lahore Race Club. Established in 1924, the club was part of the Punjab Province of British India. Also, the club’s racetrack started on Jail Road, Lahore, where Jilani Park now stands.
It was asked to transfer in 1976 by the Government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The club wasn’t able to hold races for more than a year because of it. It was only until the latter half of 1981 was the club brought back the racing program.
Game masters held it on a new course at Kot Lakhpat, which has a length of over 2,254 meters. It kept on improving from then on, and now it is the home of the Pakistan Derby.
The LRC was also responsible for being a pioneer in horse racing. The club was the first one to hold an evening horse race. Thus, event coordinators held it back in June of 2005, and it was a very monumental event. It was very significant that the opening ceremonies were attended by the President of Pakistan at the time himself, Perves Musharraf.
Alongside the president was Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the evening horse racing sponsor. The event costs around Rs 30 million.
Today, the chairman of the club is Makhdum Syed Ahmad Mahmud, who continues the evening horse race, but to be a little more energy-friendly, he uses solar power for the floodlights.
Horse racing continues to grow in popularity in Pakistan. It would soon grow enough that their races would attract a global market, improving the money that goes into the sport.