Interested in Swedish Horse Racing? This is What You Need to Know
Sweden, believe it or not, has around 360,000 horses, which equates to 39 horses per every 1,000 inhabitants. They are one of the most loved animals in the country, with the horse sector being worth a staggering 45-50 billion SEK each year. In fact, after football, thoroughbred racing and trotting (more on this below) are the most popular spectator sports with 1.2 million people visiting Swedish racing tracks every year. Below we will take a look at this history of horse racing in Sweden, the main places to watch it, and we will also provide some gambling tips.
A Brief History of Horse racing in Sweden
The very first horse race in Sweden, according to records, took place way back in 1814, meaning that it has existed in the country for over two centuries. This first race was held as a means to celebrate the coming together of Charles XIII, the old King of Sweden, and Charles XIV, the new Swedish king. The race took place at Heden, the very first racetrack in the country.
However, it was 17 years before the next race happened, and in 1831 The Patriotic Association of Horse Culture was established. Count Magnus Brahe, a powerful man in the Royal circle, was the chairman. That same year, the very first horse race took place in Stockholm at the very same spot that was used during the National Day Racing in 2013. Also, that same year, horse racing appeared in Skane, in the south of Sweden, for the first time.
From 1849-1867 there was break from racing, after which a new racing organisation was formed. In 1890, the Swedish Jockey Club was established and was in charge right up until 1959, when Swedish Galop (it has had different names) took over the responsibility. They are in charge to this very day.
What Exactly is Trotting?
In the introduction we mentioned that trotting is a popular type of horse race in Sweden. We will now take a look at what it is exactly.
Trotting, also known as harness racing, is a sport that nearly every Swedish person knows something about. The whole country has a soft spot for it, and there is even a TV channel that is dedicated to it. But what is it? I hear you ask. Well, instead of the jockey being on the back of the horse, he is sitting in a two-wheeled cart that is attached to the horse.
To give you an idea as to how popular it is, there are 33 tracks located around the country. Many of these tracks were constructed over forty years ago and can be found in some of the smaller cities as well. They have great facilities and provide a pleasant day out at the weekend for families.
One reason it has become so popular is that the racing happens at quite a leisurely pace, with tactics being more important than in the more hell-for-leather flat racing. In other words, trotting is more reflective of the Swedish lifestyle.
The Swedes believe that the origins of this sport come from the forests in the north. The workers would cut down trees and then transport them to their destination using horses and carts. The workers would race each other just some fun to this monotonous job. It has now been transformed into a sport that rakes in millions every year.
The Swedish love to bet on horse racing. They have the possibility to find options to place their bets on many of well-known bookmakers, but also on an online casino that may offer live betting options.
There is actually a good chance of winning some money when betting on trotting. The most famous trotting course is Solvalla, which is located in Stockholm. The biggest trotting event of the year, Elitloppet, takes place here, with the winnertaking home 2 million kronor. This race has been taking place every year since 1952.
Best Places to Watch Horse racing in Sweden
We will now take a look at some of the best places where you can go and watch horse racing events in Sweden.
If you are more into thoroughbred racing, the information below will be of particular interest to you. You will also be glad to hear that there are around 750 thoroughbred races held every year in Sweden.
Bro Park Racecourse, also shorted to Bro Park, is used for thoroughbred horse racing. It can be found in the Upplands-Bro Municipality, which is about 45-minute drive northeast of Stockholm. The first races here were held in June 2016 and more than 10,000 people turned up to watch.
However, if you are in Sweden and not close to this track, don’t worry as there are a number of other tracks that you can go and watch thoroughbred horse racing at. These include Jägerso located in Malmö, the Gothenburg Track (obviously located in the Gothenburg), the Strömsholm track, located just outside the small town of Västerås, and at Blommeröd, located in the south of the country, just outside Höör.