Horse racing becomes the last one to go online after theaters, workplaces and schools. While the stadium at Malakpet is not available for spectators for today, following horse racing flat results ain’t fun. Anyway, The Hyderabad Race Club has recently announced the start of monsoon races in the last week of July. The main satisfaction for the horse racing fans is that it will be available online.
“But this race will be online for the spectators, without whom the event is dull. We did conduct a winter race but the response was not as amusing as it was before the pandemic,” noted Rajvi Sen, a polo player. Sen also serves as social media and PR manager in Hyderabad Race Course (HRC).
The COVID-19 changed not only the way of spectating horse racing but also the nature of bets on it. Mohammed Iqbal, who has a two-decade experience in betting on horse racing, said: “Betting is not fun anymore…During the pandemic, I realized that I don’t bet for money, but the excitement associated with it. I do it for fun and watching the match online is no fun. I want to experience the live race again.”
“Initially I felt it would be nice with less crowd considering the pandemic. But over time, I realized that the magic is missing. I don’t feel like racing when there is no yelling from the spectators. Before the pandemic, the stadium would be full of spectators, but now it’s just our racers and the sounds of galloping horses,” said jockey Avinash Jain.
Rijvi pointed out that most of the audience and jockeys themselves now can enjoy online races after the race club has started live streaming of its races on the website ‘play.hydraces.com’. They also have an agreement with the first official licensed providers of the UK racing in India TurfWinners. She added that it has become possible to stream races online from the UK, Ireland and France to the Indian audience, which wouldn’t be so if the lockdown hadn’t forced racing to go online.