Each day's racing at the Ban-Ei track in Obihiro consists of 12 races, with the first one starting at 11:20am. Before the race, all the horses parade in the paddock, first led by their grooms, and then ridden by their jockeys. They are decked out in fine harnesses, and many of them have their manes braided with all kinds of decorations. This beautiful horse wore some very seasonal Halloween decorations that offset the black of his coat and mane:
The actual track is 200 metres long and consists of two "bumps." The horses come out of the starting gate and over the first bump.
They are then virtually stopped by the jockeys and lined up ahead of the second, so that they can get their breath back before going over the second bump. The sleighs weigh between 300 and 700 kilos, depending on the age of the horse and the category of the race.
After the second bump, it's the straight line to the finish.
By the end of the day's racing, is is often dark. This was the big race from Sunday, the Queen cup for mares only. In most races, mares and stallions (there are very few geldings) race side by side, and the mares often win! There are currently 5 mares among the top 15 winningest Ban-Ei horses, including, at #3, "Fuku Izumi" ("The Fountain of Happiness"), a beautiful dapple grey with a huge fan following.
Early morning Shameless Sheamus
5 years ago