With horse racing being one of the oldest sports on the planet, it is common to see traces of it in different locations around the globe. Even though most people tie horse racing with Europe and the United States, there are other regions like Asia that are the sport’s most progressive markets.
Thanks to modern technology, new countries are joining the horse racing club organizing big events with some eye-watering prize pools.
When it comes to horse racing in Asia, there are few countries where the sport has already a rich tradition, and other places are measuring a significant growth in horse racing popularity.
Is Horse Racing Popular In South-East Asia?
When we talk about Asia, it is a big continent where different rules and regulations apply in terms of gambling. However, there are some countries where horse racing is as big as Europe.
For example, Singapore is making some drastic changes in terms of horse racing. The Singapore Turf Club is introducing new international races, with big prize pools which makes them instantly popular.
Additionally, horse racing is basically embedded in Hong Kong’s tradition and local culture. With that said, it is worth mentioning that both Hong Kong and Singapore were once British territories, which explains the popularity of the sport.
However, in order to consider horse racing as a truly embraced sport by the region, it needs more than two former British colonies to adopt it as a major sport. Fortunately, other countries in this region accepted horse racing and the popularity is quite big.
Such a country is Japan, where horse racing has a huge following. The number of races each year is mind-blowing. Japan hosts over 21,000 races each year or around 60 horse racing events every day.
The beginnings of horse racing in Japan were not bright. Horse racing in Japan started as a sport to entertain the expat community in 1862, but it quickly became popular with the locals. Japan also has some amazing racecourses, 10 big ones to be exact and a few smaller, and they are managed by the Japanese Racing Association.
The most popular race is the Japan Cup and its prize purse is estimated to be $5.6 million and increasing each year.
Korea on the other hand is trying to follow the footsteps of Japan and increase the popularity of the sport, but they are not on the same level compared to the other countries we mentioned. Horse racing in Korea has a different twist following concerts with K-pop, and horse-racing theme parks, they are trying to make the sport more family-friendly.
It seems like these methods work since horse racing has increased in popularity and it overtakes baseball in terms of crowd attendance.
India was another British colony that has a 200-year horse racing tradition. Today, India has a well-established horse racing and breeding industry, backed up by nine professional racetracks and six racing authorities. However, racing in India is limited to only Indian-bred racehorses, which limits the potential of the market.
Some of the most famous horse racing events are the Indian Derby, which is nowhere near as popular as the TwinSpires Kentucky Derby, but it’s still very famous among Indian horse racing fans. With a big market such as India, horse racing still hasn’t reached its full potential and can grow in popularity in the future if the locals have a more open mind for the sport.
In other words, horse racing is booming in South-East Asia with new markets like Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines leading the convoy with the biggest rise in popularity. In fact, with the biggest markets like Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, Asia has a good chance of overtaking Europe and U.S markets.
Horse racing in Asia is growing in popularity, which is great for the sport. Some of the countries have a different perspective when it comes to organizing races, but the main attraction of the sport, the horse race, remains the same.
The rise of popularity of horse racing in Asia will increase the competition in the sport, which is great for all horse racing fans since we will have a lot more exciting races to bet on.