Galloping Excitement: Horse Races at The Royal Bangkok Sports Club
A gigantic green space in the heart of the City of Angels, the Royal Bangkok Sports Club hosts the country’s and the capital’s rare horse races once or twice a month. It is a must-see for visitors
Unveiling Thailand’s Equestrian Legacy: The Royal Bangkok Sports Club
The Royal Bangkok Sports Club, though not widely known to the general public, reveals its grandeur as soon as one steps off at the Ratchathewi BTS station. This hidden gem unveils an expansive open space that stretches far beyond the downtown skyscrapers, almost like a park. However, in reality, it is one of Thailand’s six racecourses and stands as the second largest in Bangkok.
Spanning over 2,400 meters, the track boasts an impressive length, encompassing a central golf course where avid enthusiasts of the sport can be spotted regularly. SSurprisingly, horses are rarely seen as the racecourse operates only one or two Sundays a month, a tradition since 1901.
This cherished equestrian tradition is a legacy bequeathed by King Chulalongkorn Rama V, whose fervent passion for horses was ignited during his voyages in Europe. His deep enthusiasm for horse racing and breeding prompted the establishment of horse clubs and regional stud farms.
Over time, this fervor has persisted and shows no sign of waning, evident from the throngs of spectators that gather for each race. Thailand has successfully cultivated its distinctive identity in the realm of horse racing and has achieved remarkable success through its regional stud farms, producing some of the finest thoroughbred horses in the country.
Timeless Thrills: Horse Racing at The Royal Bangkok Sports Club
Since 1901, the organization of the races at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club has been finely tuned to perfection. From the main entrance, where racegoers can rent binoculars or purchase summaries detailing the horses’ qualities and faults, to the grandstands, every aspect is meticulously designed to enhance the enjoyment of the spectators.
The races kick off around 1 pm and continue throughout the afternoon. On average, a dozen thoroughbreds take part in each race. While the races themselves are relatively short, lasting just under 2 minutes, the intensity is palpable.
The stands reverberate with thunderous cheers as everyone passionately roots for their chosen horse. Some exude delight with each stride, while others grumble with disappointment, but in the end, the collective shouts of joy and despair merge into an electrifying symphony of emotions. The spectacle is truly one-of-a-kind and often serves as an irresistible motivation to wager a few baht on the next thrilling race.
With gallop races held on the flat and without obstacles, there is a continuous flow of excitement until around 5:30 pm when the races conclude. Within this timeframe, there are ample opportunities for spectators to witness a multitude of races and engage in numerous bets, ensuring an enthralling and eventful day at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.
Unveiling the Paradox: Horse Racing at The Royal Bangkok Sports Club
Horse racing’s paradox lies in its position within the country’s evolving betting landscape. While other forms of betting are undergoing increased scrutiny, horse racing remains untouched by surprise inspections from authorities, enjoying a protected and privileged status that facilitates legal wagering.
At the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, bettors can stake amounts ranging from 50 baht to much higher sums, with maximum bets capped at 3,000 euros. As with any racecourse, winning and losing are part of the exhilarating experience. The enthusiastic spectators, predominantly men comprising 90% of the audience, are eagerly vying for the chance to win a few pennies!
Unlike traditional bookmakers, the racecourse relies on cash registers that accept bets until the last possible moment. Surrounding the bustling atmosphere are televisions broadcasting the races live, drawing just as much attention and fervor as the bleachers. The crowd’s enthusiastic cheers fill the air, creating an electrifying atmosphere.
Distinct Zones: Spectator Delights at The Royal Bangkok Sports Club
The Royal Bangkok Sports Club encompasses three distinct zones, each offering a unique viewing experience. Both main entrances, situated close to each other on Thanon Henri Dunan, welcome the public with the only difference being the price and corresponding seating in the stands: either 50 baht or 100 baht. Once inside, spectators must remain in their chosen zone and cannot switch between the two.
Here’s the difference between the two zones:
The more affordable entry grants access to bleachers positioned after the finish line, providing a clear view of the horses’ final efforts before crossing the finish. However, it does not offer a direct view in line with the finish line.
The second entrance, priced at 100 baht, offers spectators a direct and unobstructed view in line with the finish line. This prime location allows for a captivating perspective of the horses’ thrilling dash towards victory. Additionally, this zone provides a direct view of the paddock, a must-see area before and after the races, where the horses and jockeys prepare and celebrate.
Apart from these public zones, there exists an exclusive VIP area, reserved exclusively for esteemed Club members. Stepping into this area feels like a nostalgic journey to the refined clubs of British India, exuding an ambiance and style that are quintessentially British and exquisitely classy.
In summary, The Royal Bangkok Sports Club caters to various preferences, providing unique perspectives for spectators to enjoy the exhilarating races in an ambiance of rich history and charm.
A note on dress code: Proper attire is required for entry. However, it’s worth mentioning that despite this requirement, many individuals still choose to attend in flip-flops and shorts.
While the racecourse is open to everyone, it tends to attract a predominantly male audience, and children are relatively uncommon among the spectators.
Practical information on horse racing:
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Bangkok is one of the capitals of Asia where the possibilities of going out to have fun are very large: from the starred restaurant to the street-food, from the fashion club to the small typical bar, from the popular districts to the hot districts, from the romantic evenings to the hottest gogo bars… the list is impossible, so here are some plans to hanging out!