Royal Western India Turf Club sets a new high - By Sharan Kumar

Posted on - 31 Mar 2023

Royal Western India Turf Club sets a new high
-By Sharan Kumar
The Royal Western India Turf Club is all set to reach a new high at a stage when racing is facing a crisis on all fronts. As if the killer GST introduced by the government was not bad enough, the new finance bill envisages a 30 per cent tax on those whose cumulative earnings cross Rs 10,000. The tax will be under 194 BB and the deduction will include both investment and return, giving a double whammy to the punters.
Since KYC norms are to be implemented for betting at both totes and bookmakers, there is bound to be a drastic fall in betting as a huge amount of money goes out of the system at the end of every round resulting in money being available for circulation depleting after each round. One has to wait and see how the new TDS regime impacts sports. Without a doubt, the new TDS regime is highly detrimental to the sport.
Be that as it may, on the positive side, the RWITC Managing Committee headed by Chairman of Stewards Ram Shroff and Chairman of the Club Surendra Sanas and the committee members have done a wonderful job of putting through a 20-day compact racing reason with all the major events conducted in the usual glamorous style. The Indian Derby was conducted with its traditional fervour despite the sponsor backing out at the last minute.
The Poonawalla Multi-Million had its usual share of glamour and glitz thanks to the Poonawalla brothers. The end-of-season highlights used to be the running of the Shapoorji Pallonji Colts Championship and Forbes Fillies Championship. However, this year, the club has planned for a spectacular finale, with two days of packed action, with races for every category. The Racing Carnival as it is called has been planned very well and there has been a big buzz which is sure to bring a big attendance at the race course. There is an all-around appreciation for the efforts, with about 40 outstation horses arriving for the weekend racing.
One rarely gets to see the current performers of the Indian Derby and the Invitation Cup clashing again so quickly, especially after the running of the Invitation Cup. However, the Racing Carnival has ensured that the champions horses Juliette, King’s Ransom and La Reina are tempted to take part in the Gr 2 C N Wadia Trophy for the rich prize money that is on offer. The race had been downgraded somewhat because of poor participation of top horses but the rich prize money and the participation of the best-performed horses of this year have enhanced the event a great deal.
The Zavaray Poonawalla Sprinters Million also has formidable runners in the fray. There is Iron Age, the local champion, who is invincible on the track but somehow not performed to the same level at other centres. He has the class and ability to bounce back though the ageing Iron Age will have a tough customer in Isn’t She Beautiful who has been improving leaps and bounds and should give a big performance against seasoned horses which are way above her in terms of the rating. There are speedy customers Sky Fall, Leopard Rock and Market King to spice things up.
Super Mile winner Northern Lights who shot to fame in two runs has proved to be a late bloomer. He will be the horse to watch in the Gr 3 Maharaja Harisinghji Trophy, a terms race for four-year-olds and over. Northern Lights runs freely in front and has been a great revelation this season, reaching heights that one did not expect it to reach the beginning of the season. Ahead of My Time who failed to run to expectations in the Super Mile at Bangalore will prove a different customer on the more familiar home track. All Attractive who smashed the opposition in a seven-furlong multi-million at Bangalore will be a value addition to the list of horses contesting for the plum.
One has to wait and see whether Karthik Ganapathy trained Juliette would end her career with yet another glorious win at the expense of King’s Ransom who ran her close. That is if the connections of Juliette decide that the mare has done enough for them and she is consigned to the paddock. King’s Ransom has been a fantastic performer since the last Pune season having settled into a nice rhythm. Both these horses have had a long racing season and one hopes that they have not gone over the top.  
Almost all the 14 events framed for the two days appear to be competitive. The idea was not to write a preview of the weekend racing but to give a glimpse of what is in store for the racegoers. Both the day’s racing will be held in the evening with the attendant excitement and extras for those who want to have a great time apart from competitive racing.
Zavaray Poonawalla whose commitment to the sport has been unquestionable has opened his purse and extended generous sponsorship which in a big way helped the club retrieve the season and conduct it in the usual manner. Support from Vijay Shirke, and K N Dhunjibhoy has also made a big difference. What is heartening is that the majority of the members have shown exemplary commitment to the sport and in their own way, have helped the club to handle the crisis post-Covid which turned the world upside down. The members offering to pay an entry fee every day is something unique and unheard of in other clubs where the members want king-size facilities without paying for the same.
I would like to congratulate the Managing Committee and the officials of the RWITC and give a big pat on their back for their exemplary performance.