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Post Info TOPIC: Horse racing in Thailand - it's only for fun - right?

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Horse racing in Thailand - it's only for fun - right?

quoted from another article . details of source to be added

Fixing Is Fun

I have to admit right now that I have no interest in horse racing or indeed in gambling of any sort boring, I know,but those are the facts. I find everything about Horse Racing tedious in the extreme,and can think of nothing I would enjoy less than a day at the races!!Yesterday Evening however,over a couple of beers a friend of mine recounted a story concerning horse racing in Thailand which I feel might make an amusing Hub,the reader of course will be the final arbiter of just exactly how amusing it is!!

The Sport Of Kings

Horse racing came to Thailand shortly after the return from a State Visit to Europe of King Rama V in 1897. Civil servants and students who had studied in Europe,organised a Horse Race as an act of alegiance celebrating his Majesties return.

Shortly after this His Majesty bestowed a piece of land,which was to be used as the Countries first race course,this was the genesis of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club.The other prestigous Venue for Horse Racing in Bangkok is The Royal Turf Club.Membership of these August Institutions is restricted to Thailand's elite,and the only possibility of being invited to join is if a member of your Family is already a member.

In fact the above example of Elitism is not so very different from Britains racing tradition where only the rich and powerfull are invited to sit in the "Royal Enclosure" at Ascot.In Bangkok members of the public are allowed to attend Race Days which are held every second Sunday with the Venue switching between the two Clubs.Betting is allowed,the minimum stake being 50 Baht,just over one Pound or around a dollar 30.

With the exception of the above gambling is illegal in Thailand,that is not to say that it does not occur,the Thais are serious gamblers and the Town where I live is full of "Betting Shops" which operate under the benevolent eye of the Police Department whose members of course get a piece of the action.

The reader should not assume that I am in any way judgemental of Thai's because of the prevelance of corruption here,when One lives here One accepts it as a fact of life.In much the same way as Ladyboys and Bargirls are accepted by Thai's the presence of corruption at all levels of Thai society is acknowledged and accepted.

I would imagine that very few Thai's have not benifited from corruption in some way,at the less dramatic end of the spectrum this can come in the form of Parents making a "Cash Donation" to a particularly well thought of School to ensure their Child is offered a place.Whilst at the breathtakingly audacious end of the scale it can be typified by the Bangkok Police Captain,known to an aquaintance of mine who recently paid 7 million Baht (in Cash) for a top of the range BMW 7 series,incidentaly a Police Captains Salary is 17.000 Baht per Month!!

OK back to the Horses,there are race tracks in several provicial Thai Cities,the one I live in being amongst them.This particular tale concerns an Irish fellow who is a long time resident of Thailand.A keen racing enthusiast,this chap who is fairly wealthy bought himself a Racehorse,put the Horse into training and paid for all the stuff involved in being a Race Horse Owner.

The Horse it transpired had great ability,both trainer and jocky assuring the owner that his Horse had a better than even chance of being a winner.On the Day of his Horse's first outing the Irish Gent,together with his Thai Girlfriend and a small entourage was in high good humour and brimfull of confidence that his Horse was going to win the race!

Shortly before the Off a party of flashily,though expensively dressed Thai Men came over and introduced themselves,presenting his Girlfriend with a beautiful bouquet of flowers they proffered an envelope stuffed with cash and congratulated him warmly on the fact that his horse was going to come second!!"But I think it is going to win" said the slightly bemused Irishman!!

The above mentioned Irish Gentleman being particularly street wise and savvy as to how things work in Thailand quickly decided that in this case discretion was indeed the better part of valour.Hastily stuffing the bulging envelope in his pocket he agreed that his horse was indeed destined to be the runner up,and went off to give his Jocky fresh instructions! Thus a jolly and profitabe days racing was enjoyed by everyone,that is to say everyone who was privvy to the circumstances just outlined!!

My second tale from the turf concerns my good friend Jeremy.Jeremy is an Englishman in his late fifties who lives and works in Australia.He makes several trips a year to Thailand where he chases Bar Girls with a lusty good humour.An expansive,gregarious Man,Jeremy endeared himself to me by his forthright admission that, yes he is a "Sex Tourist" and that he is quite relaxed about being referred to as such!

Last September Jeremy spent a couple of Weeks in Chiang Mai,bringing a surge in profits to the several Girly Bars which he chose to frequent. A Chap whom he met whilst at his labours invited him to accompany him to the Chiang Mai Races.On arrival at the racecourse they went to get some drinks.Presently they were joined by several Thai Men who seemed to be on good terms with Jeremy's companion.

At the behest of his friend Jeremy,who is anyway a very generous person,bought these guys several Whiskys.It transpired that these men were plain clothes Policemen,eventually the Policemen,beaming with goodwill shook hands and excused themselves.

Shortly before the first race the Policeman returned and handed his chum a piece of paper,written on which was the number of the horses which were going to win the first three races!!Not quite trusting this seemingly highly lucrative information Jeremy only placed modest bets.In fact the horses which had been designated all galloped home winners!!

Fixing of course goes on all over the World,one just has to look for instance at the case of the three Pakistani Cricketers who are currently facing allegations of Corruption.I reiterate I am not writing this as a criticism of Thailand or Tha'is in general.But if you are having a day at the races in Thailand then I would strongly advise that you keep your bets at the 50 Baht minimum,that is of course unless you happen to bump into some friendly Policemen!!

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