When you think about horse racing, what you see in your mind is a high-speed event, where sleek stallions race against each other at top speed, trying to outdo each other from beginning to end. There, you can bet on the outcomes by opening a betting account via agent and make some profit while you enjoy watching an excellent equestrian sport. But not all horse races are like that, let me tell you about a horse race like no other in the world.
Ban’ei Horse Racing, a culture unique to Hokkaido, is the only one of its kind in the world, attracting attention both inside and outside Japan. It was born from the harsh livelihood of the times when Hokkaido was being developed (around 1900). At that time, they would compete by having the horses play tug-of-war to test the value and strength of the workhorses. Later, it transformed into a competition where you can see large draft horses, weighing about 1 ton, race in a 200 meters’ straight line while pulling an iron sledge that weighs up to 1 ton, and so it became known as a festival of workhorses, the “Draft Horse Festival.”
Different from the flatland horse racing widely known to the general public, the power and endurance of the horse, not only the speed, and the technique of the jockey when climbing over the obstacles determine the outcome of these races. Another difference is that the Ban’ei race progresses slowly as the horses climb over two obstacles while pulling a heavy sledge. Being able to run and cheer on the side of the course with the horse is also a captivating aspect of Ban’ei Horse Racing.
Differences from flatland horse racing; the race is decided when the rear end of the sledge crosses the finish line. In the most widely known flatland horse racing, the race is decided when the tip of the nose of the horse crosses the finish line, but in Ban’ei Horse Racing, the race is decided when the rear end of the sledge crosses the finish line. This is because the focus of Ban’ei Horse Racing is on “finishing the cargo-carrying job” and sometimes the horse may stop before completing the race.
The track condition improves after rain. With Ban’ei Horse Racing, the level of track moisture is so important that it is indicated on the electric scoreboard. When it rains, the sledge slides better, and the time for completion of the race go down. On a sunny day, there is less moisture, it is harder to pull the sledge, and the time for completion goes up.
The technique is extremely important. In comparison to flatland horse racing, Ban’ei Horse Racing is a type of race where the technique of the jockey is extremely important. As they think about how to overcome the two obstacles on the course, the jockeys will check one another. The jockey may decide to go aggressively all at once or take it easy. The jockey and horse run on the track as one, and the thrilling tactics mesmerize the fans.
Ban’ei Horse Racing is truly an event like no other that all fans of the sport should experience at least once in their lives; so, if you are ever in Japan, if at all possible, make sure to make a stop at Hokkaido and to get a look at this event which commemorates the strength and power of the workhorse. However, if you are a ‘classic’ person, you must open an OrbitX account via a betting agent to enjoy the great odds in horseracing.