Horse Race Betting In India – Bangalore Turf Club
As far as horse racing in India goes, the Bangalore Turf Club is among the most important facilities in the country.
The Bangalore Turf Club is one of the six major horse racing organizations in India. It is situated in the modern metropolis of Bangalore, the “Silicon Valley of India” and the capital of the south Indian state of Karnataka. Officially known as Bengaluru, this inland mega-city with more than 10 million people is located on the Deccan Plateau in the Indian Peninsula.
The Club and its associated race course lie at the heart of this modern city. It is close to Chickpete and Lakshmanpuri. The Race Course Road, an important arterial road, links the Turf Club to the rest of the city.
The Bangalore Turf Club’s location at the heart of the city does have its drawbacks. Space is at a premium, and so the whole complex is housed inside an area a shade above 85 acres. Despite these limits, the Bangalore Race Course is fully equipped. This includes stabling for a thousand horses, multiple training tracks, an equine swimming pool, hospital, training schools and even a riding school for amateurs.
The Bangalore Race Course is famous for its oval-shaped track. The main surface of the race track is mostly turf, with a smaller dirt track on the inside ring. It is a right-handed course, with some challenging features. The total length of the track is around 1,950m or around 6,397.6 feet.
What truly sets the track apart are the various gradients that run along its distance. These include downhill sections that dip by 13 meters (43 feet) before climbing another 11.5 meters (38 feet). Add to that four sharp curves and a very short straight and you have one of the most thrilling race tracks in India.
The undulating surface presents a lively challenge to even the most experienced jockeys and steeds. It demands both speed and endurance to thrive in the races at Bangalore. Man and animal alike have to be at their very best to eke out a win on this storied track.
Race Details – Seasons, Stakes, Prize Payouts
Initially, the Bangalore Turf Club had just one racing season. Over the years, its schedule has grown and now runs two racing seasons in a calendar year: one in summer and another in winter.
- Summer – It typically starts in May, and runs for a little over three months, ending at the start of August.
- Winter – Starting in November, the winter season at Bangalore Turf Club extends into the new year before concluding sometime in March.
Both seasons usually include events spread across 26 days, with races often happening close to the weekends, Thursday-Saturday. Anywhere from 750-800 horses tend to take part in both summer and winter, along with around 50-60 trainers, and nearly a hundred jockeys (Both “A” and “B” licensed). The race distances range from 1,200 to 2,400 meters.
Races include a handful of Grade I events, along with numerous Grade II, Grade III, and other low-stakes races of varying lengths. Each race day of the calendar has around six or seven races on the cards. In 2018-19, the summer season had a total prize stake in excess of Rs 18.5 crores or around £2 million. The total prize at stake for the winter season was slightly lower at Rs 15.5 crores or £1.68 million.
The biggest races with the largest prize payouts are the two Bangalore Derbies, with one each in the summer and winter. The Blue Riband Summer Derby carried a total stake of Rs 2.5 crore in 2018, or roughly £270,000.
Both the Bangalore Derbies are Grade I races. Top brands/firms like Kingfisher (United Breweries) and Crystal Properties sponsor these races.
Notable High Stakes Events
Other notable high stakes horse races at the Bangalore Turf Club include:
- Fillies Championship Stakes (Grade I)
- Colt Championship Stakes (Grade I)
- Bangalore 1000 Guineas (Grade II)
- Karnataka Juvenile Million (Grade II)
- Maharaja’s Gold Cup (Grade II)
- Jayachamaraja Wadiar Cup (Grade III)
- Governor’s Cup (Grade III)
- Bangalore Winter Million (Grade III)
History of Bangalore Turf Club
The history of horse racing in India began with the arrival of the British in the 17th and 18th centuries. But the sport never really took off in the early centuries of colonialism due to constant conflict between the Indian kingdoms and the European powers. It was only after the British secured their dominion over the whole of the sub-continent that horse racing became a thriving pastime of the elites, including the Maharajas.
The earliest Turf Clubs took root in cities like Madras and Calcutta in the late 1700s. Compared to that, the Bangalore Turf Club is quite young, having only been created in 1921. It was originally formed by a handful of officers of the British Indian Army, along with a few distinguished Indians. The Maharaja of Mysore granted the club land for the Race Course.
But Bangalore’s connection with horses stretches back centuries, long before the Turf Club was established. Owing to its unusual elevation, the city has a very pleasant and cool climate. As early as the 16th and 17th century, the region was thought to be an ideal site to breed foreign horses, especially those from Persia. Local Indian breeds were not very suitable for pursuits-like racing.
Over the centuries, Indian breeders have reared purebred Arabian and Persian horses, as well as thoroughbreds from the Colonial past. As a matter of fact, all Turf Club events across India, including the Bangalore races, require horses to be born and bred in India to compete! The Stud Board Authority of India issues a passport-like document for all eligible horses in India.
Post-independence, the Turf Club kept its autonomy and organization structure. Like most other horse racing organizations in India, the Bangalore Turf club is a private organization based on membership. It is quite autonomous and governed by its own elected committee. It is a member of the Turf Authorities of India, the governing body for all six Turf Clubs in the country.
The Club keeps exact records of all the races held at the local racecourse over the years.
The oldest record still standing is in the 1600m category, set in 1988-89 by Divine Light, with V. Shinde as the jockey. In 2017-18, the horse, Mathaiyus, ridden by Neeraj Rawal, set the most recent record in the 1800m race. The full list of record timings across all distances at the Bangalore Turf Club can be found here.
Legality of Betting at the Turf Club
Indian law deems most forms of gambling illegal. Barring a few exceptions, almost all Indian states enforce a strict blanket ban on gambling. But horse racing does not come under these Indian gambling laws. There have been many lawsuits in the past challenging this position.
But according to the 1996 decision of the Indian Supreme Court, betting in horse racing is not entirely dependent on luck or chance. It requires special skills and knowledge about horses, their pedigree, training, and various other factors. For this reason, you can legally bet at all horse races in India, including the Bangalore Turf Club.
In fact, there are a number ways to place your bet at a Turf Club these days. You can either visit the club or visit one of the several counters run by the Club in other parts of Bengaluru city to legally place bets on the latest horse races at the club. You can either bet in tote, or place your bets separately with the local bookmaker at the course.
Betting on Turf Club Races Online
The same logic that applies to local gambling is also applied to online bets placed on Turf Club races in India. Since horse betting is not a game of chance, horse race betting online is not illegal per se. It falls into a grey area and you can safely bet online as long as you choose trusted sites.
Some of the best horse race betting sites for Indian horse racing fans include Betway, Bet365, Bodog, and Betrally. All of them accept bets in Indian rupees and have a wide range of sport betting options, including all Indian Turf Club events. Visit any one of them to learn more about their exclusive offers and other exciting promotional features!