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:http://www.pedigreequery.com/dare+to+dream10
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.