Football has so many game apps which give supporters a real feeling of being involved in the game. Cricket and tennis are another two sports well catered for in both games and apps. Focusing on other sports, how does horse racing fare? Which are the best free games to try out and which give the most realistic experience, as close as possible to being at the Grand National or the Cheltenham Festival.
Virtual horse racing 3D
Acknowledged as one of the best, most realistic of games around, Virtual Horse Racing enables you to make bets, learn about the odds and get all the excitement of horse racing wherever you happen to be. The races can include up to eight runners and the game allows you to have a good look at the form of both horse and jockey before laying down a bet.
Once the race takes place, as the title suggests, you can view it in 3D with appropriate and realistic sound effects. It also saves plays to allow you to resume in the same race as and when you want.
Race Horses Champion Lite
Another game complete with 3D graphics, Race Horses Champion Lite gives you more of an involved role in the horse you wish to race; its care, welfare and training regime. You first choose the colours you want to race with, then the big decision of which horse to buy. Once purchased you will then train it and, once you have put the horse through its paces, you will be able to enter it into a race.
Here you have to steer a path around the course and gain the experience of knowing when to push on or when to ease off. It can be tricky to master but gets you to the heart of the attraction of horse racing, from buying a horse to hopefully winning races. As you earn prize money from winning you can buy more horses, selling others that become surplus to requirements. The game gives you 90 horses to choose from and features five race courses and a total of 15 different events.
This game, from Eternal System, is slightly different from some of the others in that it is based solely on Hong Kong and races there but also, as opposed to concentrating on details often found in successful computer games, it focuses on players who are particularly interested in improving their handicapping skills.
Providing realistic information on upcoming races, it gives good and helpful previews of the races to come, giving the player more of an idea of what to expect and which horse to go for. It also has an interactive element, allowing you to share ideas on how best to play the game.
Derby Quest Horse Racing Game
The starting point at some games is when a particular horse is born, or when the horse has been identified and due to start racing. This game begins even earlier in the process, allowing you to meet the parents! You choose a prospective mother and father to meet and eventually breed a racehorse.
You choose a colour for the foal; a name and then, when it is safely in its stables, you can feed it and then, later in the process, train it for the races in future. The graphics, unlike some of the other games mentioned, aren’t the best and the horse itself isn’t as realistic as can be found in some others, but it is a good game, giving you a part in the horse’s future. It is also interactive and enables you to compete against players from all over the world.
This is essentially a game that gives you control of a stable and pits you against the owners of other stables around the world, giving you the ability to buy, sell and breed horses as well as having input into the management of the jockeys, the horses diet and their training programme.
I like the variation of this game, coming at the subject from a different angle, concentrating mainly on the stables and the management of them. So, rather than an individual horse, you are responsible for a number of them, having to decide which ones to put in a particular race dependant on form, fitness etc. It’s also well worth a look.