• Punjabi Girl wins The Fillies Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
  • Sir Cecil wins The Colts Championship Stakes (Gr.1)
By Ikram Khan
Wednesday 10 May 2017
Ikram Khan

After all the good, bad and ugly stories which surfaced following the alleged dope cover-up charge against the Bangalore Turf Club, it appears that the `horse’ is back on even keel and the saddle too is at the designated place before the start of the summer season on Saturday, May 13.

While a group pointed out that the confidence of the punters is low at this centre after the unfortunate turn of events which resulted in the government stepping in and ordering a CID probe, what is heartening is the fact that punters are just not interested in the petty politics and are ready with their many permutations and combinations in their effort to start the summer season on a winning note.  

New BTC chairman Y Jagannath disclosed that he is open to constructive ideas. I’m willing to listen and accept anything constructive and good for the game. The sports needs promotion and positivity and that will be our mantra,” said Jagannath while pointing out that a few disgruntled members are indulging in smear campaign to dent the image of the club.  

“The track is in fine condition and most pros are pleased with the facilities offered at this centre.  More than 120 horses including 36 horses from Mumbai have arrived and are in training, gearing up to strike it rich in the 26-day summer season,” said Jagannath.   

The chairman revealed that the club has decided to hold back incentives provided to local owners until the GST picture is evaluated, but the club has not reduced the winning stakes offered in the prospectus  for the first six days.

“We are hoping that the GST will not hit the racing industry. The club a couple of days ago made a good and fair representation in New Delhi and we are hoping that a couple of our suggestions will be incorporated in the final bill which will roll out after the final meeting in Srinagar on May 19.

Apart from the rich and famous and the bold and beautiful owners who have invested in the game, the decision makers of all the premier clubs including RWITC chairman Vivek Jain have brought to light that the racing industry employs thousands of men working in the stables, stud farms and at the tote windows and they will be hit hard if the sport fails to survive and the conductors are forced to shut shop.

When posed with the question on the return of bookmakers, BTC steward Ajith Saldhana said: “We have decided to start without bookmakers and only after getting a clear picture of what GST has in store and how hard will be the impact we will decide on the bookmakers and other revenue generating options.”

The blue riband of the season, the Kingfisher Ultra Derby scheduled to be held on July 9 will offer 2.5 crore in stakes, second richest race, next only to the Mumbai Derby. But the moment the sponsors understand and realize that the attendance is falling they, it is needless to mention will turn away and look to invest in the other sport and that’s the big fear. The GST on turnover will not only hit the club, the punters too will be floored and so too the owners, the clubs resorting to cost cutting and it will all snowball with no hope at the other end of the tunnel simply because there is no gasoline in the funnel.

Well after Chief Of Command from Robert Foley’s yard recorded a classic double emulating Battalion who emerged the best horse of the season at the Blue Mountains last year, the racing buffs at this centre are hoping that Apache Sunrise from Neil Darashah’s yard maintains his winning streak this summer.  “He is very good and talented. He is a frontline contender for the second classic of the season, the Colts Championship Stakes and let’s see how he shapes up against the best this summer,” said Neil Darashah.

Apache Sunrise apart, Capo Di Capi from Irfan Ghatala’s yard who made a smashing debut is one other who will fancy his chances in the classics. The think-tank of Capo Di Capi from the famed Kunigal Stud farm is very bullish about his prospects and one look at his preparatory chart reveals that the Vijay Mallya brigade spearheaded by Zeyn Mirza is leaving no stone unturned to help Capo Di Capi peak right.

“He in his first appearance has shown that he has the potential and that he is a quality performer. He has tremendous scope for improvement and he let me tell you he is improving each day,” said Zeyn.