Of Porn Stars, Broken Vintage Cars and Dwarfs with Trombones!

So, the 2015 Invitation weekend is history.  I doubt we’ve had so much mindfucking excitement ever on our sport’s annual shebang.  The amateur way our sport is marketed and packaged is truly shameful and shoddy.  The rain last week just added to the mess that was the Invitation weekend or what it became, the Invitation week.

Lets start with last week’s awards night put on by the TAI (Turf Authorities of India).  The Chief Guest was the lovely Sunny Leone, India’s pride and joy in the multi billion dollar porn industry.  While our leading breeder Ameeta Mehra of Usha Stud who had a cracking year of achievement  in 2013-14 got a cursory mention at the awards night, oodles of time was spent on Miss Leone.  Ameeta who is fortunately not the sort and thankfully at that to let things slide was rightly very vocal in her condemnation of the entire event.  I couldn’t agree with her more, it’s about time we breeders who contribute the most to racing stood up and called a spade a spade.  Miss Leone handed over lots of mementos to our octogenarian chairmen representing their various jurisdictions.  One hopes their blood pressure medication didn’t need adjustment after that.  Anyhow enough of all that and while one wishes dear old Sunny all the best in her new Bollywood career, I don’t think she’s the right choice for an awards night where people in a sport or industry are being felicitated. Simply put one doesn’t see her as a Chief Guest and Keynote speaker at a CII conference!

Now comes the parade prior to the Sprinters Cup, wow was that a hoot!  First the vintage cars which were supposed to take our TAI Chairmen on a lap of honour wouldn’t start and needed to be pushed, sadly metaphoric of the current state of Indian Racing.  Then there was the band, considering the fact that Bombay has some fine Army, Navy and Air Force bands, the idiot who organised it ventured as far as the Mahalakshmi flyover and picked up a street band of bow legged dwarfs.  Absolutely fucking brilliant, in all the hullabaloo I witnessed temperamental Hyderabad challenger Un Un Un boil over and end up getting scratched after he flipped out properly when he was in the gates, his connections were rightly disappointed as a lot of hard work came to nought.  Why do we have all this crap and for whose benefit is it put on?  Calcutta and Hyderabad hosted the Invitation too and the focus over there was on the HORSES not on mujras which for some odd reason RWITC loves to put on for their punters who anyway bet illegally with bookies rather than their tote which is on life support.  Cut the crap boys and stop wasting cash, the stars of the show are the horses, we can go to a dance bar and get our rocks off, Kapische?

We must have a cogent marketing strategy for racing, its a great sport and its great fun to be involved in it, we need more people getting into it. We need to take our heads out of our butts and smell some fresh air.  Our sport needs to be packaged and presented in a far better manner.  We need the oomph quotient back, the NHBSI has made a request to the Chairmen of the TAI regarding this and we got a favourable response and we will be presenting them a blueprint of the same at their meeting in July on the Bangalore Derby weekend.  We’d love input from you so if you think you have a good idea we’d love to hear it.

Now back to the races, freak rain caused a postponement by a week of the Stayers Cup and Sunday’s races.  The result was that last Sunday, Sanjay Reddy, Arjun Mangalorkar, Zeyn Mirza and myself spent Sunday morning drinking copious amounts of Coffee sitting in the lobby at the Four Seasons hotel out of sheer boredom.   The inadvertent result of the postponement was what was probably the best day of Indian Racing ever on Saturday, three top end Group Ones and a Group Two were on tap.  A great day’s racing was marred by crowd violence when Quasar beat the chalk favourite Be Safe in the Invitation Cup.  A super ride by young Yash Narredu on Quasar and a bad case of misjudgement by Suraj on Be Safe gave us the dreaded, “Doosra” great result in my personal opinion simply because Ramaswamy lost and Jayadev Mody and his partners are good guys!  Bottles and stones were thrown, apparently some poor sod even landed one on Senior Stipe Shujaat Hussain, boy oh boy is that guy in deep shit, the senior stipe isn’t the sort to take take crap from mobs or any sort of idiots and whoever you are you fool you’re going to get it good I assure you that.  It was a bad week for Vintage Cars because the one used on Saturday got its windshield shattered! The committee did very well do go through with the Stayers Cup which went off over an hour late.  Good that they paid out all dividends on the Invitation Cup too or else it sets a bad precedent.  A better crowd management policy is direly required by RWITC and its about time it happened because this behaviour is becoming too frequent for comfort.  If the public is going to behave so badly then we need to come down on them hard.   So, on to Chennai for next year’s Invitation, its sad that the TAI gives that club legitimacy because the racing there is the shame of quite possibly world racing under rules.   So next year on the first Saturday of March I look forward to receiving the leading stud award from Ron Jeremy!

PS: Google that name in case you don’t know who he is.

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