Horse racing, known as Sport of Kings, has been made an enormous deal for many over the past several decades. Having a title name of that stature, the horse racing industry was a sport that stood tall amongst others, carrying prestige and of course a large audience. The racing scene over the years has somewhat seen a decline, prestigious cups races were no longer overflowing with an audience.
One may question, what has led to the sudden decrease of the Sport of Kings, world renowned and practiced by the elites. In this day and age, it is no doubt that this sport brings out joy to those who already love it. However, the number of horse ownerships have been looking at a decrease. This may be because the cost of upkeeping a horse is extremely high. The costing of items like horse feed, training fees can come up to a high cost. Apart from that, vet bills and supplements can also add on to the already escalating cost.
Decades ago, horse racing was a sport that carried honor and prestige. The joy that was entwined with an owner walking the horse in the winning enclosure was immeasurable. However, in recent times participating in a horse race has gone beyond the love for the sport but more of the love that surrounds betting. The prestige that is entwined with horse racing is unlike any other, where owning a horse signified great wealth and status in itself.
It is no secret that the current economic situation makes it very difficult for individuals to buy a horse. Buying a horse is a form of an investment, and it requires making the right decision. Living in an unstable economy causes situations where many prefer to safeguard their earnings and not invest in things like horses. With the lower returns of owning a horse, people tend to group together to purchase horse. Owning a horse and the process of the upkeeping often costs a lot. Without winnings, owners will then have to pay for the horse out of pocket. This may lead to the lack of participation and an eagerness to wanting to own a horse in the future.
The economic situation and lack of owners causes the big stables that were once present to no longer exist and naturally lead to the dwindling number of horses in the field as there are often no new owners coming up. Owning a horse takes a huge amount of responsibility. Decades ago, owning a horse was deemed a pride and a joyous experience for an owner. However, in current times, horse ownership has evolved into becoming more of a business than a proud ownership. The joy of the walking in the winning enclosure has been overshot by the amount of business a horse is able to bring in to the owner.
There are many things that have grown over the years, that brings people away from horse racing. For instance, the high intensity of the race and the difficulty to understand the sport as a whole. Youngsters now look to many other different mainstream sports like football or basketball, a simpler game which doesn’t require a huge amount of understanding.
We live in an age where the generation who truly find love for horse racing is almost gone. Horse racing is an intricate sport that requires tremendous understanding, along with extreme love for the sport and the animals. The younger generation that come forth, often find more interest in the betting process over the sport.
These groups often carry out betting processes online, which reduces the bets placed within the club. Naturally a question that may arise in this situation is “Why keep cows when you can get free milk?”. This implies that one may not even need to own a horse to be able to win a game when one can come into contact with a jockey to change the outcome of a game and one’s rides. This will naturally decrease the number of people attending race meetings. With syndicates often having control over jockeys, the race’s outcome is no longer determined on the horse’s true strength and ability to run. Trainers who usually had the final say in the process of the game, from picking the horse and the jockey, is now trampled by certain jockeys that may be controlled by either an owner or a syndicate.
It is no doubt that with the existence of COVID-19, the number of races and attendance has seen a plummeting decline. In addition to that, punters look for opportunities to purchase a ticket at a discounted price, which is something that is offered by the syndicates. Years ago, the totalizator board offered discounted betting per every 10 units, however with the change of times and the abolishment of discounted betting, many punters may also begin to move to making bets with the bookies instead. This then lowers the pool money that is attached to the club. With a reintroduction of a discounted betting through the club, one might eventually be able to compete with the illegal online bookies to raise the betting pool.
Horse racing is a sport that will never die, however with syndicates present, punters may lose interest in the game, knowing that there might be a chance that the game is rigged and will always end up on the losing streak. There has been a steady decline in the racing scene in Malaysia over the years. If the continuation of syndicates occur, punters may choose to leave altogether.
Has this sport become solely about the betting process and are we ready to face the decline in racing? At this moment of writing, no such person to improve the industry, has yet been found.
Disclaimer: All the views, information and opinions expressed within this article are of my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the entity that I have been, am with now or will be affiliated.