Racing in Bangkok definitely has its own status. Just getting into the racecourse is as competitive as being a tourist in Bangkok, snaking through the ever zealous street vendors surrounding the entrance gates.
This was to be the Royal Bangkok Sports Club’s second important race meeting with the proposed running of the Chakri Cup. However the race had been cancelled this year in honour of the 12-month mourning on the recent death of King Rama IX.
This did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Bangkok racegoers who cheered home Thailand’s new rising star Will Power in the main race The Country Bred Div 1 Handicap of 1200m.
This was Will Power’s fourth consecutive victory from 13 starts and he carried a champion’s weight of 61kg or 9st10lb. Sired the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko, his dam was imported in-foal which is a popular trend in modern day Thai breeding.
Thailand’s outstanding sire Captain Thunder had another successful meeting with Earth Star winning amongst his 25 runners on the day. A son of Storm Cat from a Mr Prospector female line, Captain Thunder was Thailand’s most expensive horse when imported in 2005.
All 10 programmed races were run over 1200 metres with each event having 12 to 14 runners. Each race was weighted on a divisional basis with an emphasis on wins and performance regardless of age. There was no two-year-old events programmed.
All betting was by the On-Course Totalisator with win, place, quinella and trifecta. Illegal bookmakers no longer operate on courses and there is not off-course betting in Thailand.
Today the Royal Bangkok Sports Club stages 25 race meetings per year on Sundays at its Patumwan Racecourse. The King’s Cup is the Club’s principal event and is run in February, along with the Chakri Cup and the Queen’s Cup in August.
The Royal Turf Club of Thailand, established in 1961, is Bangkok’s second race club and also conducts 25 meeting’s annually on a Sunday at the Nang Lerng course. The Derby Cup run in January is the Club’s main race, supported by the President’s Cup in June and the Ramraghob in November.
On 6 September 1901 the Royal Bangkok Sports Club was established when King Rama V granted the Royal Charter with the Club to lease the previous Royal Racing Course. Today that same piece of land is still the site of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and the now Patumwan Racecourse.
This Charter arose from an original approach by a group of gentlemen led by Mr A E Olaroffsky who were seeking to establish a club in Bangkok for the purpose of improving the standard of horse breeding, conduct race meetings and other sports.
Racing had begun in Thailand in 1890 when Englishman Franklin Hurst leased land at Sra Pratum in Bangkok and on occasions held horse race meetings, gymkhanas and cycle races. In 1892 Hurst was granted additional land which became known as the Royal Racing Course and conducted race meetings for several years.
Racing in Bangkok…By Bernard Kenny