"The Sport of Kings" Horseracing in Cyprus
Horseracing in Cyprus dates back to the Hellenistic period as described in the works of Homer and other authors of that period. During this period horseracing was described as the ‘sport of kings’ due to the fact that it was a sport that kings took part in. It is also a fact that there was such a bond between man and horse that it was common, when a king died to have his horse buried with him. It is said that organized horse racing as we know it today started around 1878. In those days the police used horses for their daily duties and they started organizing races between themselves. This slowly grew to the popular sport that horseracing has become, in Cyprus.
Today organized horse racing takes place at the Nicosia Race Club. This club is run by a committee which is voted in every three years. The Race Club is situated in Ayios Dometios which is a suburb of Nicosia. For those that enjoy a day out at the races, you will find that there are scheduled races on Sundays and Wednesdays in winter and spring and on Wednesdays and Saturdays in summer and on most major holidays. All races are broadcast live on TV and radio and if you would like to place a bet you can do so at one of the over one hundred authorized betting agent’s island wide.
Each race meeting usually consists of 10 scheduled events in which mostly thoroughbred horses are featured. Racing in Cyprus is governed by the Cyprus Turf Club which is still based on the same rules as the Jockey Club of Britain. All betting is computerized and simple to place. The Nicosia Race club is a modern building which is located in a beautiful setting with the mountains of Kyrenia in the background. It is also fully equipped with all amenities and you can have a splendid meal on the premises. This is a great place to spend an exciting day, especially if you are into games of chance.
Bets start with a minimal amount, so how much you spend will depend on how deep your pockets are and how much you are prepared to risk. Winning bets are paid at the end of each race according to the final decision of the racing stewards. Make sure you have your tickets to present for collection, as lost, torn or disfigured tickets will not be paid and there is a 15 day limitation on cashing in winning tickets.
The Nicosia Race Club is a non-profit organization and foreign horse ownership is encouraged. If you would like to enter your own thoroughbred horse into these events you can make arrangements with the Race club for reasonable monthly training fees. The Race Club which underwent extensive upgrading and renovations in 1997 is now a popular meeting place for those who want to spend the day at the races. The friendly staff are there to welcome you and you can even arrange a visit with a group of friends in their private facilities. The recent floodlights that have been added makes it possible for the horse racing events to continue until early evening, and this is exceptionally pleasant to watch especially in the summer months.