Betting on child jockeys | The Wider Image

The gate springs open, the horses shoot off, and the spray flies as they hurtle down the racetrack…

The chairman of the races’ organising team, Hajji Sukri, denies that the children taking part in the race face any danger, saying they are all skilful riders and none have been killed or seriously hurt.

This could be a scene at any racecourse around the world, but with one important difference: some of the jockeys racing near the Indonesian town of Bima are as young as eight years old. The reason why? Because child jockeys are lighter, says a district government official.

This gambler collecting his money after winning on a race is among the crowds of cheering spectators gathered around the track. The races, which this year lasted 11 days, have been held at the end of the rice-harvesting season for as long as anyone can remember and no one here lets laws against gambling spoil the fun.

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