|-halp pls- race|
Stallion Eri-Aaroni running in the 1939 race, Turku
|Race type||Harness race for Finnhorse mares and stallions|
|Distance||2,100 metres (1.30 miles)|
1,609 metres (1 mile)
3,100 metres (1.93 miles)
|Track||Left-handed 1,000 metre track (0.62 miles)|
|Qualification||Finnhorse stallion or mare, registered in the Finnhorse studbook. At least 4 years old.|
The Kuninkuusravit ("royal races") championship is an annual championship harness racing contest in Finland. It is the official Finnish national championship contest for Finnhorse stallions and mares. It has been held annually since 1924, except during the war times of 1934-1937, 1940–1942, and 1944. Originally stallions and mares competed together for the title of Ravikuningas ("racing king"), but in 1948 the separate title, Ravikuningatar ("racing queen") was established for mares. Geldings may not participate.
The Kuninkuusravit championship races take two days, during which three starts are run. The first start, , is run during the first day, and the and starts during the second day. The stallion and mare with the best combined times win. Thus, to win the title, a horse does not need to win a single run, and for instance, in 2006 the stallion Saran Salama won the championship, placing 2nd, 2nd and 3rd in the respective starts. Both divisions include 12 animals. Horses taking part in the contest are required to be registered in the Finnhorse studbook.
Suomen Hippos holds the Kuninkuusravit contest annually, in co-operation with one of its affiliated organisations. The contest is held in July or August. The first eight Kuninkuusravi contests were held in Lahti, but since 1931, it has been a priority to hold the contest in a different place every year, all around Finland.
Before the foundation of Kuninkuusravit in 1924, the annual Finnish Finnhorse harness racing championships had been raced as state-held races, valtionajot ("state races"). Some single races had been called "kuninkuusajot" before 1924, for instance in Tampere September 28, 1913, but the race was probably at provincial rather than national level. Similar contests were held also in Southern Ostrobothnia.
The Kuninkuusravit contest replaced the state races as the official national harness racing championship contest for Finnhorses. The state races, however, were still held until 1939. The first Kuninkuusravit contest was held in Lahti in 1924, and it consisted of three starts: , and . At first the starts were run one horse at a time, but it was later changed so that the starts are run normally, all horses at the same time.
During the war years of 1940-1946, the Finnish harness racing sport was in depression: only few horses were trained, and races were held rarely as most of the horses and men were serving in the military forces. The Kuninkuusravit contest was held only three times, in 1943, 1945 and 1946.
Until 1948, the title of Ravikuningas was open for both stallions and mares, which competed in the same division. The title was won by mares for five times: in 1925, by Reippaan-Liisu, and in 1930-1933 by Tomu.
In 1948, the contest was split in two divisions, for stallions and for mares, but the rules allowed a mare to take the Ravikuningas title in case her combined time was better than that of the best stallion. By the 1948 rules, a mare only won the Ravikuningas title once, being Suhina in 1956. The rule that allowed a mare to "overtake" the Ravikuningas title was later abolished.
A number of Finnhorses taking part in the contest have won multiple times. This reflects the durability of the Finnhorse, and the length of its effective racing career. Of stallions, Vieteri, Vekseli, and Viesker won the title of Ravikuningas five times. Before the separate divisions, the mare Tomu yh 745 won the Ravikuningas title four times (in 1930-1933). The mare Valomerkki won the title of Ravikuningatar four times. The mare Suhina won once the title of Ravikuningas (in 1956, by the 1948 rules), and three times the title of Ravikuningatar (in 1955, 1957 and 1958).
- Arppe, Pentti (1968). Ristonmaa, Simo. ed (in (Finnish)). Suomen raviurheilu. K. J. Gummerus Oy.