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Is Horse Racing Popular In Africa?

There is a huge spike in horse racing popularity over the past decade and even though this is one of the oldest sports in the world, it is still tied to certain locations. Horse racing is a popular sport for betting, with races organized all around the world.

It all started in Great Britain where many people predict that this region was the first-time people have seen horse racing of the modern format. Since then, horse racing is accepted by many countries like France, the United States, the Middle-east, and Australia.

But, what about Africa? Does horse racing have a popular audience here and how is the trend for its popularity in the southern hemisphere?

Unfortunately, horse racing isn’t a very popular sport in Africa. In fact, it is not even on the top 10 list where we have football, rugby, cycling, cricket, basketball as one of the people’s favorites.

However, there are two regions in Africa where horse racing has been growing over the past couple of years. We are talking about Mauritius and South Africa.

Despite horse racing not being popular in the African continent, these regions somehow found a way to continue the horse racing tradition that lasts for hundreds of years.


In Mauritius, horse racing is one of the most popular sports and mainly because of the Champ de Mars Racecourse, which is one of the most popular races in Africa that gathers more than 20,000 people on each event, and it hosts multiple times a year.

This racecourse is also the oldest in the entire southern hemisphere, which is another factor that proves that horse racing was present in this continent centuries ago.

South Africa

On the other hand, South Africa also has a rich history with the sport with races formed as early as 1795. This is fairly explainable since South Africa was ruled by Britain for a long time, and it seems like they passed on their traditions to the locals.

During the rule of Britain, horses that participated in races were called Capers.  These were dual-purpose horses, which carried army remounts and raced from time to time. Capers were common in South Africa until the 1860s when they were replaced by Thoroughbreds and Australian Walers.

During the time of Lord Charles Somerset in 1814, South Africa has seen the biggest horse racing expansion, since the one in charge was a huge fan of Cape racing.

At this point, horse racing was well embedded in the South African roots, which meant that the popularity quickly grew. During that time, people have seen the birth of new big-time horse races that are still popular nowadays.

The first big events in South Africa were the East Cape Derby and the Algoa Cup. However, horse racing in South Africa has changed since then. In the beginning, horse races were organized on 1600m racecourses and were increased to 2200m racecourses.

Nowadays, horse racing in South Africa is very popular and we have some great events scheduled in the horse racing calendar.

One of the most impressive events is the Durban July Handicap, which draws more than 50,000 people on the racetrack. There are other popular races in South Africa, such as J & B Met and the Summer Cup.

You can also bet on foreign races, like the popular Kentucky Derby on local bookmakers or using a VPN and betting on the ones abroad. You can check here the future wager pool for this competition:

Popular African Racehorses

Since horse racing is very popular in this region and people started taking it seriously, we’ve seen some impressive horses, one of which was the Sea Cottage. This racehorse dominated the African scene from 1965 to 1967 and was the first horse being named South African Racing Hall of Fame. Sea Cottage managed to win 20 from 24 races including big events like Somerset Plate, Cape Derby, Queens Plat, and Newbury Stakes.

I go back to modern time, we can also find some great horses like Pocket Power, who managed to win 20 races from 43 starts and was dominant between 2007 and 2010. He was also named Champion Horse of the Years three times and won the Queen’s Plate on four occasions.

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