Horse Race Betting In India – Hyderabad Race Club
Hyderabad Race Club is one of the youngest horse racing clubs in India.
As the name suggests, the Hyderabad Race Club and race course are located in the south Indian city of Hyderabad. The city is located in the center of the state of Telangana, a region that was recently carved out of the state of Andhra Pradesh on the eastern coast of South India. Currently, Hyderabad functions as the capital of both states as part of a temporary arrangement.
The Hyderabad Race Club is found quite close to the heart of the city, in the historic Old Malakpet neighbourhood. The Masjid Road and Race Course Road connect the race course to the rest of the city. Kachiguda and Saidabad are the two main localities close to the club.
Unlike most other race courses in India, the Hyderabad Race Club owns the entire land on which the racecourse and club facilities are located. This is due to the generosity of the Nizam, the erstwhile ruler of the princely state of Hyderabad. In the 1950s, the Nizam sold 126 acres of land to the club at a nominal price to build a modern race track.
The current facilities at the club are quite impressive, and features an impressive grandstand that can house 10,000 people. It also boasts over 800 stables, two racing tracks, an exercise track, as well as state of the art computerized betting systems, and extensive training facilities. The grandstand also has many amenities like snack bars, over 200 betting windows, and huge lobbies for tote betting.
The Hyderabad Race Club has two race tracks, one for summer use and another for the winter racing season. The local climate, with its heavy monsoon season, necessitated the creation of two separate tracks. Most of the rains in Hyderabad take place in the summer.
The two tracks use different surfaces. The one used in the summer monsoon season has a sand-based surface. It is also the longer of the two, measuring around 2250 meters long. The winter track uses tan bark, which is a type of wood-based mulch commonly used in race tracks in this part of the world. At 2150 meters in length it is slightly shorter than the summer track.
The Hyderabad Race Club has some of the best race tracks in India. This is thanks in no small part to a very challenging layout. Even the most skilled riders find the sharp right-handed turn on the tracks extremely challenging. The long stretch of 550m close to the winning post also contributes to heightened excitement during the races.
Race Details – Seasons, Stakes, Prize Payouts
The Hyderabad Race Club organizes two separate racing seasons in a year. In the initial decades after its founding in the 1960s, there was only one racing track and season. It was only after a winter track was built in 1976 that the club shifted to the present system. The racecourse holds races of varying lengths, from 1000m events to the longest 3000m races.
- Summer – Starting around the middle of July, the monsoon racing season in Hyderabad ends in the last week of October, or the first week of November.
- Winter – There is only a short break between the two seasons, as the second season commences in the middle of November, with the end coming sometime in the early days of March.
Each season typically consists of 28 racing days, with some extra days. The races are usually held on weekends, with Sundays and Mondays being the days of choice. A typical season can stretch across four calendar months, with anywhere from 6-8 races on race days. The races at Hyderabad involve jockeys with “A” and “B” licenses.
The racecourse at Hyderabad witnesses a wide variety of races. These range from Grade I main events, to lower stake Grade II and Grade III races involving colts, fillies, and geldings. Nearly 500 horses take part in each season at the Hyderabad racecourse. The monsoon season in 2018 had a total of Rs 9.5 crores at stake, or roughly just under £1 million.
There are several high stakes events each year at the Hyderabad Race Club. The most important of these is the Deccan Derby, a Grade I race of 2000m held on October 2nd of each year in the monsoon season. Another prestigious race is the Nizam’s Gold Cup, a historic race that has been held in Hyderabad since the late 1800s. The President Of India Gold Cup was a trophy event started after Indian Independence by the race club.
Hyderabad also hosts the following races:
- Deccan Fillies Championship Stakes (Grade III)
- Deccan Colts Championship Stakes (Grade III)
- Golconda 1000 Guineas (Grade II)
- Golconda 2000 Guineas (Grade II)
- The Golconda Oaks (Grade II)
History Of Hyderabad Race Club
In the British Colonial era, Hyderabad was a princely state ruled by the Nizams. Thanks to royal patronage, horse racing has had a long and illustrious history in the city. Races were often held as far back as the 1870s. This is even though the modern Hyderabad Racecourse came much later in the 20th century.
In those days, the main race course in the city was the Moula Ali Racecourse a few miles outside the city. The 6th Nizam who reigned in those days was an avid horse fan himself. He had stables at all his palaces, and one of them even overlooked a private racecourse. This mansion was located in Malakpet, and that particular racecourse still flourishes today as the Hyderabad Race Club!
Racing events in Hyderabad were moved from Moula Ali to the Malakpet course at the personal request of the Nizam in 1886. That same year, the Nizam sponsored the Nizam’s Gold Cup, which continues today as a major event in Hyderabad. During that period, the Royal Calcutta Turf Club conducted the races.
The sport continued to flourish in the city well into the 20th century. Founded post-independence in the 1950s, the Hyderabad Race Club received a major boost when the 7th Nizam sold the current racecourse land to the club in 1956. A few decades of growth and consolidation ensued. In 1977, the Hyderabad Race Club then became the fifth independent turf authority in India.
The Hyderabad Race Club is an independent private entity with the autonomy to conduct its own races. This is similar to other such organizations in India. It is also an important member of the Turf Authorities of India, the main body responsible for creating and maintaining the rules for horse racing in the country. The Race Club has a paid membership structure. In addition, the club famously introduced the idea of sponsorship into Indian horse racing.
The Hyderabad Club website maintains extensive records of all the races run on the course over the years. There are separate records for the summer and winter season due to both being held on different tracks. Arabian Knight holds the oldest record still standing in the summer season, with a winning time of 2 minutes 56.72 seconds in the 2800m race achieved in 2008.
The winter season records, too, feature 2008 as the oldest record year. Oasis Star won the 1200m event with a time of 1 minute 09.72 seconds. 2008 seems to have been a good year for Arabian Knight, with the horse featuring in the winter records as well, this time in the 3000m race.
You can check out the full list of record timings across all distances at the Hyderabad Race Club here.
Legality of Betting At The Hyderabad Race Club
Gambling, or rather, games involving luck or chance have a more or less blanket ban all over India. The are a few exemptions, though. Namely, lotteries run by some state governments, and a handful of legally licensed casinos in places like Goa, Sikkim, and Daman.
Horse racing is a notable exception to this rule. Importantly, the law does not consider it as a game of chance. The Indian Supreme court ruled in 1996 that betting on horse races is based on skill and specialized knowledge of horses. This therefore means that all Turf Clubs in India are legal betting centers.
The Hyderabad Race Club has extensive facilities which allow you to legally bet on horse races that take place in Hyderabad as well as other turf clubs in the country. Besides the counters in the racecourse, you can place bets at off-course counters run by the club in other parts of Hyderabad. Some counters are also available in other cities of Telangana/Andhra Pradesh.
Betting on Hyderabad Race Club Races Online
India has poorly defined internet gambling laws. While casino games are illegal in the country, many Indians do use online gambling sites freely to bet on their favourite games of chance.
Horse racing presents far less of a risk as it is legal offline all over India. So while it is not explicitly legal, placing bets on Indian horse races is definitely not illegal either. As long as you choose trustworthy sites, you should have an enjoyable time betting online on horse races in India.
Indian horse racing fans should look for established betting sites that accept bets in Indian rupees for a hassle-free experience. Sites like BetRally, Spin Sports, Bodog, and Bet365 are all solid options in this category. You can even find attractive promo offers on most of these sites, especially if you are visiting them for the first time.