Been a while since I’ve written anything so thought I’d pen a few thoughts just in case you forgot me. It’s been a busy summer so far as us much maligned breeders have wrapped up our breeding season or are in the process of doing so. May 15th is the last day of the breeding season at Dashmesh but usually scan-master extraordinaire Navtej manages to convince me to make a week’s extension. Anyway one always runs away from our 45 Celsius plus soon after and it’s Bangalore that sort of doubles up as summer quarters with it’s temperate climes. This year from all reports was the hottest ever summer in My Southern home with the Mercury topping out above 40 Celsius. There were days in April when Sarainaga was cooler.
As Bombay dragged out their April fixtures, we waited with intrepid interest to see the Ooty season as it was the first since the late 80’s where there was going to be proper competition with even a few outstation runners coming for their classics. Young local trainer R Karthick took the 1000 Guineas with the fittingly named filly, “Light” as the darkness disappeared from Madras Race Club. Neil Darashah took the 2000 Guineas and Derby at the hill station with Battalion and wrote his name into the history books, I’m sure he must have thrown a few looks at the females hanging around Ooty Lake and broken a few hearts there. Fahad Khan became the champion trainer as he put the winningest trainer in the history of the world in the shade and put an exclamation mark on the end of one of the darkest eras in Indian racing history. While we saw competitive racing, I’d have to say the quality of horses running in the bread and butter races at the centre were extremely poor. The committee, must be congratulated on the conduct of racing with help from HRC as well as their efforts in reviving the sport in Tamil Nadu. They must make a long term plan to improve the quality of horses as well as making an effort to improve the level of professionals working there. It would have been interesting to see their champion jockey C Brisson in action at Bangalore Summer, he sits decently and rides out quite well from what I saw of the racing there online.
In the meantime Mid May means the start of India’s best racing season; the Bangalore Summer Meeting. My favourite whipping boy the handicapper has tinkered around a bit in his quest for mediocrity and re did the classes somewhat and compressed the scale further to help weed out the bottom end stock which he has worked so hard over the years to nurture. In his wisdom he knocked out the 80 and above races which leaves a large number of very good Class one horses in no man’s land in so much that they aren’t quite up to the level of running in terms races but are very good when running at a rating of 90 or so. The Class one horses ought to have been what the prospectus should cater to but….
I got a pleasant surprise when I walked into BTC as the shanties to the left when you walk in to gate one have been done up and look good now. Similarly the weighing room has been renovated and I’d be amiss if I didn’t say job well done. The entire weighing room block has been given a facelift, a new patch of grass has been planted in an expanded paddock with the introduction of a winner’s circle. I’m not much into BTC politics but I must say that the new committee has done well and now when someone walks into our racecourse they don’t get a slummy feel, which the place had earlier. The next port of call should be to raise the height of the stable roofs a few feet to improve airflow and to remove the asbestos sheets and replace them with a safer, better looking and more modern material. The quality of racing has been quite decent barring the lack of quality riding talent available save a handful of jockeys.
Our somnambulist Turf Authorities of India need to seriously think of setting up a proper modern jockey school along the lines of what there is in South Africa, not the patch up job we have in a few centres nowadays. I’ll be back soon with a bit more vitriol which my readers like but for now Ola!