The horse racing industry in India came to an abrupt halt in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The horse racing industry like all other sports in India went into lockdown mode and is yet to reopen fully as India continues to battle against COVID-19.
The big difference between the Indian horse racing industry and other sports like cricket or hockey is that the Indian horse racing industry is struggling for funds while cricket and hockey have enough money to tide them over at a time like this.
The Jockeys Association of India (JAI) is doing whatever it can to help thousands of Indian jockeys and their families who are struggling financially. These jockeys have not had an opportunity to ride and make a living for months now and are in desperate need of help.
JAI Writes To 50 International Turf Clubs
JAI President Pradeep Chouhan said it was the responsibility of the association to try and find work for their jockeys at a time like this. JAI has written a letter to 50 international turn clubs offering the services of Indian jockeys.
It is indeed a sad state of affairs that JAI has to call on international turf clubs for assistance because the Indian government is unable to do anything to help. JAI decided to write and ask for help after the Seoul Racehorse Trainers’ Association (SRTA) stepped in recently and made a difference.
JAI is yet to confirm if any of these 50 clubs have responded to their call for help but did confirm that the SRTA has helped them out. For the last 5 months, JAI has been paying their jockeys a sum of 10,000 rupees which is barely enough to get by.
STRA Extends Helping Hand
The STRA in association with the Korea Racing Authority (KRA) and the Indian embassy in Seoul have helped out JAI in multiple ways. The SRTA was in need of help during the pandemic and hired 10 former jockeys between 25-35 years old and were happy with the work they were doing at the club.
The STRA appreciated JAI for sending across these 10 jockeys and in a gesture of kindness sent across 10,000 masks, 2,500 sanitary pads, 10,000 sanitizers and soaps to help out the families of Indian jockeys who are unable to afford these basic items at a time like this.
Chouhan was very appreciative of the consignment from Seoul and was happy to hear that the 10 jockeys that SRTA employed were doing a good this. This positive response is what motivated him to see if he can get other turn clubs to hire more jockeys who remain unemployed.
The big cause for concern in India is that there is no indication as of now as to when the horse racing industry will be back to normal. It is quite possible that jockeys will have to wait till 2021 to begin racing again.
Domestic Turf Clubs Pushing For Online Betting
Domestic turf clubs across India have taken a massive financial hit during the last 5 months and are looking for ways to recover their losses. Most of the top horse racing clubs across the country are pushing their respective state governments to give them approval to offer online betting at their race tracks.
They believe this is one of the fastest and easiest ways for them to raise funds. Multiple state-governments are looking into this option as they are keen on helping out the horse racing industry. If any one of the top states approve online horse race betting, it will pave the way for other states to adopt a similar model and help out turf clubs in India.