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Monday 16 August 2021

Do They Have Horse Racing in Russia?

With the Coronavirus taking in hold all over the globe, horse racing fans are scouring the back pages of newspapers for racecards of any regard. 

For instance, I have never really looked at horse racing at Thurles, Ireland. But it will be this Saturday (21/03/20) because apart from racing in the United States and Australia there isn't a lot of racing going on. 

I know some people like to bet on two flies crawling up a wall but I would rather stick with equine if that is possible.

Unless you know a fruit fly called Frankel. 

Just for the sake of it, I thought ''What about Russia!'' 

That's Russia horse racing. I can't say I have ever thought much about horseracing from every corner of the globe but in this time it makes me wonder if other countries are struggling in a similar way or the horses are racing whatever is thrown at them. 

I once wrote an article about horse racing in Antigua, for a good friend who has a tourism website. I must admit, the horseracing, although thoroughbreds, reminded me of something back in the day and it was simply a three-horse race. I was left with the impression that every thoroughbred horse race in Antigua was a three-cornered affair running round a course that looked like something homemade and a commentator who was found from the crowd. I don't want to knock it because it was still a race and I'm pretty sure they had betting. I mean, you don't have to dress up in top hat and tails to enjoy a day at the races or rub shoulders with her majesty the Queen. 

I think I'd rather enjoy a day in Antigua. 

Anyway, back to Russia. 

Did you know they have horse racing in Russia? 

I guess you imagine, like me, that does just because it makes sense. 

However, I have no idea how it works in a communist country. 

Anyway, from reading what information is on the internet, I see that horse racing in Russia takes place at two main venues and a 20th-century landmark.  

Central Moscow Hippodrome (pictured)

It was founded in 1834 and the largest horse racing track in Russia. It is the finest Stalinist architecture to be seen. It has been enjoyed by members of the Russian imperial family and Emperor Nicholas II. 

Taking a look at the website I can see what looks to be trotting horse racing. Even trying to translate the page to English doesn't help as I cannot make sense of the Russian language. I wish I could translate because I am sure it would be an interesting read. I've found another website which makes for easier reading. 


I will do my best to convey something about Russian horse racing. It seems that the horse racing covers both traditional racing and trotting. 

They have horse racing on Saturdays and Sundays at the Central Moscow Hippodrome. They have betting, which looks like it is done on a Tote basis. The season runs from May - September (trotting races take place all year round). The racecourse covers a circuit of 18000 metres long. 

Horses are trained and race at the venue. 

Interesting, the horses are taken to the ring at 5am and training sessions are over at 8am, to keep away from prying eyes, a tradition taken from English horse racing 

Tickets cost 150 rubles (£1.60). It sounds very good value. 

Covered stalls with a seating capacity of 3,500. Tours are available by appointment. 

Trotting race in the snow (troika races). 

One of the feature races is the President's Cup Horse Race every June since 2012. In wintertime, horses compete in the Russian Troika Championship. (This is over a long distance with a team of three horses.) It is said to be the perfect combination of speed, power, and endurance.

President's Cup Horse Race

This prestigious race takes place in July of each year with attendance from presidents from Bolivia, Venezuela, and Iran. 

The race has a cash prize of 10 million rubles ($304,000). The Cup is presented by Vladimir Putin. In fact, six races take place on the day with a total prize fund of 28 million rubles ($867,000).   

Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov told journalists in Moscow that the race is not only "spectacular" but acts as a "strong incentive for the further development of our country’s thoroughbred horse breeding."

It is interesting to learn that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has sent horses to run at this meeting. 

Readers may remember Kadyrov wanted to run horses at the Australian Melbourne Cup, which caused outrage to human rights activists regarding gross human rights abuses in Chechnya. Kadyrov's' horses have been banned from racing in the United States. 

From what I can understand, Russia has five racecourses throughout the country. Akbuzat Hippodrome, Kazan Hippodrome, Krasnoyarsk Hippodrome, Moscow Hippodrome, Pskov Hippodrome

Horse Racing In Moscow (1958) Pathe