Change…..and we must!

Its appalling to me as to how dumbed down Indian racing has become. People whose livelihood is dependent on the quality of the horse that is owned, trained or ridden by them, rarely research pedigrees or any of the data available to make a discerningly correct choice as regards what they ought to be buying and racing. I’ve been going on and on about how the glaring lack of long distance races is creating sub par trainers and jockeys, the same malady also creates some amazing statements from jockeys and trainers too such as, “Do you think this will STAY Seven Furlongs.” I doubt thats a question that should merit a straight answer, a hard “Jhaap” is the correct answer in my humble opinion.

As we host the Asian Racing Conference over the week, lets face it our industry has regressed in the past decade. RWITC finds itself in the mire of petty politics and an ill informed and antagonistic government. BTC holds on through a court judgement as the government there has been slicing off bits like a ham slicer just to finger them. Madras Race Club is showing glimmers of making a comeback after two decades of simply put, rampant cheating in favour of one owner. Hyderabad Race Club though professionally managed and run business-wise churns out a product that on most occasions mirrors a visit to one’s proctologist, dull and dreary. RCTC after many years of theft by officials and committees alike still came back to some of its past glories due to the efforts of their Chairman the Late Deepak Khaitan and his committee members who provide what must be termed as a yeoman service to the grand old club but what next?

Our breeding industry which once featured creative men trying hard with knowledge of nicks and pedigrees to produce good horses has more or less been hijacked by traders rather than breeders. Launching a new stallion is tough in today’s market as 90% of the clientele pre judge the horses they buy by the price they pay for them. Its nigh impossible for a horse like Dare To Dream to emerge at Bombay or Bangalore despite his pedigree being a very well thought out mating design conceived by Gautam Lala. Check it out:

Kudos to his owner and trainer who have campaigned this horse ambitiously and his body of work now even includes a Gr. 1 victory.

Finally lets come down to our officialdom, there was a time when there were men at the helm who knew how the sport ought to run. Today we’ve come to a level where questionable decisions are coming with a worrying regularity. Our industry is still pretty much where we were in 1970 as far as technological innovation and facilities go. I’ve said this often we have way too much racing and the product that we’ve been putting out is mediocre. The malady of low rated age group sprint racing championed by the Bangalore Turf Club handicapper has turned a multi faceted and fascinating industry into a dull and dreary casino game.  Furthermore our trainers play Russian roulette as we have impractical and antiquated medication rules.  These need to be looked at seriously as trainers have been testing positive via contamination.  Despite most of the time the quantities found being inconsequential, trainers must face harsh punishment, loss of income and worst of all a loss of reputation even though in many cases not having done anything wrong.

It’s an interesting time in our industry, Madras Race Club is showing signs of life again and we look forward to them hosting the Invitation Cup in March this year. Our racetrack in Punjab is within touching distance now and as a tote monopoly setup, it should show our industry the way forward. Since, all the seriously progressive nations in racing have no bookmakers operating.
As I sit here as a delegate here at the 36th Asian Racing Conference listening to the Turkish, Korean and Qatar industries talk about how they run things, one can’t help feel a mix of jealousy, anger and regret to see how stagnant things are in India by comparison. We have an old tradition of racing and breeding but the world is passing us by at an exponential rate. Change is the need of the hour and it needs to arrive fast.


One thought on “Change…..and we must!

  1. Honestly I am not a professional as regards pedigree and bloodline matters but having read this write up I must say even this does not speak in an authentic manner of matters discussed within the ‘write’ ; I say so by my experience a Horse race goer who takes things seriously.
    What to speak of average horse owners I observed that even big time Owners, Trainers and those in business of racing do not have much idea in this matter AND usually when the so called experts in this field of bloodline and staying ability of a given horse OR even comparative merit of horses to run in a given race usually give out a Choice either on hear say OR on majority Opine.
    Now come to think of a highest kind of professional opine,, I refer to horse American Pheroah .. the winner of Kentucky Derby 2015… where as the so said Expert discussed the said horses pedigree and completely ruled the horse OUT … saying Am Ph has no ability to stay Derby distance ; the horse not only won Kentucky derby but also went on to win Triple Crown.
    Similarly once I discussed the Agha Khan owned horse Arazi of 1991/92 Kentucky Derby which was opined as a Horse of Merit one in a century… but Arazi finished Not among First Ten… the cheapest horse Lilitee ( $ 6500 ) who had no credentials what ever won…
    But I don’t mean Pedigree has no credentials… IT Definitely has but its the professional Bookies some how know… This also I say by my observations … 6 months prior to Kentucky Derby 1991/92 they offered High odds of 12 to 1… for great Arazi… its obvious they Knew Arazi though proved great over a Mile … shall not last Derby distance :p

    In all other matters as in the Link write Politics does rule the roost simply because many a Status Symbol and huge Money involved in running and result of each Race ; prestige of the trainers, big owners being involved ; and as above article wisely referred to a Racing center where Each and every matter was in Control of just One Man… any body can guess who…
    Racing some day in India may become an affair played around whole country and betting Tote becoming Popular BUT please know one thing ; just Tote betting may reduce Racing Merit Judgement to Number game LIKE in Lottery… well for a genuine Merit to judge before hand Bookies being is a Must , they being In charge Sort of their offering Odds carries a definite meaning Though only few professional Race goers understand so…
    Though I believe that most race results are in order of Merit some events do reflect things other way round ; one can not rule out since there is huge money involved.
    Handicap aspect is tricky too and on my own observations many times I felt handicap assigned to a horse is some times too harsh and/or not accurate and surely its a hard job as well. You must have observed some trainer/owner combinations they keep running a horse for many races, bring horse down in class from I …to class 4 or so and suddenly horse starts winning again and again.
    So some times horse racing seems more of a business and not just a sport… which it really is, well I think Horse Racing is a wonderful Sport where several artists work simultaneously.

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