New Delhi's punters didn't have to go far to have a bet on the horses recently.
New Delhi's punters didn't have to go far to have a bet on the horses recently. They were racing through the streets in the middle of the Indian capital.
It was the annual Tonga race. The Tonga, a horse and two-wheeled light cart, is a common from of transport in many parts of India.
Thirty-one of there abandoned the lucrative pickings from tourists for the day to enter the race. With a first prize of US $200 (approx GBP80 sterling) at stake, the owners took it with great seriousness even of the horses did not.
Last-minute bets were placed and then they were off. The horses, who usually find it hard to raise more than a gentle amble in Delhi's torrid heat, set off at a brisk pace.
They were supposed to trot, but with no judges looking on some of them sneaked into a gallop, and with rupees waiting at the other end, there was no let-up in the pace.
Heavy betting had been placed on last year's winner, an underfed mare called Chaman Mia, but she dropped back as an outsider called Roopchand hit the front.
Some of the punters became so excited that they joined the race themselves, aboard trucks and scooters, to urge Roopchand on to victory. He was an easy winner from Ramu Thekedar who put in a late burst to overtake Chaman Mia for second place.
Several punters who lost their rupees wanted to lodge a protest. No, said the judges, as they garlanded the champion and presented the prizes to New Delhi's three fastest tonga owners.