Swedish racing

in the winter

Mats Genberg Magnus Östh

Stockholm, Sweden, is one of the northernmost racing cities in the world. Unlike how it’s done in many other countries, Sweden does not have a system with race meetings, but here racing goes on from April to February since the track opened in 1960. Temperatures regularly drop to -10°C (14°F) in the winter, but the show goes on.

 

“Winters are tough, but so are we,” says Swedish champion jockey Per-Anders Gråberg, who is also a regular visitor to races in the UAE in the winter. “There is always talk about if we should have winter racing or not, but this is the time of the year when the lower class horses really get a chance to earn their living. It’s very important to many people that it lives on.”

However, The 2015/2016 winter season was the last one at Täby Racetrack, as the land has been sold for development, and the brand new Bro Park opened up in the summer of 2016.

Only the tough is showing up.
Only the tough is showing up.

”When I heard that the local authorities wanted the land for development, I started out on my own project to document the place while it was still there,” said photographer Magnus Östh, who has been a regular at the track for several years as a TV cameraman.

”It’s a massive place from an era when racing attracted large crowds and the suburb of Täby was almost rural. Now the track is a green spot surrounded by highways, shopping malls and apartment buildings in what has become an affluent part of Stockholm. The stables are like a small village in the city.”

The Täby Racetrack in Stockholm, Sweden, is one of the most northern of its kind.
The Täby Racetrack in Stockholm, Sweden, is one of the most northern of its kind.

Täby Racetrack had many similarities to tracks in the United States. For instance, it has a left-hand dirt track outside a turf oval and offers on-track stabling.

”Of course it has it’s charm,” says Bo Gillborg of The Swedish Racing Authority. ”However, since it’s from another era, heating and maintenance costs are crazy. Also stables and paddocks are not in line with how we want horses to live today.”

Even if the track is plowed, the snow makes the sound of winter racing very special. You can almost see how quiet it is…

The land where the track sits will soon be a construction site where 6,000 apartments are scheduled to be built in the next coming years.

Will there be winter racing at the new track?

”The exact race planning hasn’t been decided, but I am certain we haven’t seen the last horse racing in snow in Sweden yet,” says Gillborg.

 

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