RWITC Gears Up to Host Another Glamorous Season - By Mahendra Mallya
Posted on - 12 Nov 2011
RWITC Gears Up to Host Another Glamorous Season
By Mahendra Mallya
The paddock at the Mahalaxmi racecourse was lit up and decked up to seat a large gathering. Spot lights, loud-speakers, a podium and big screens greeted the invitees. An aura of excitement was in the air. The crowd trickled in at first, but soon all seats were occupied and a few extra chairs were placed for guests arriving late, obviously hampered by the inevitable traffic congestion the city is never free of. Fortunately, the racecourse possesses sprawling lawns and one can never really use the term ‘houseful’ at such a mammoth location!
I enjoyed the privilege of welcoming the guests and taking up the MC’s responsibility. The evening opened up to a refreshing fusion music recital rendered by a quartet of musicians going by the name ‘Indian Flamenco Project’. Four talented young men worked up some soulful tunes and spread the synergy round the paddock capturing the moods in the audience. Even the usually reserved, sober and elite members of the Club couldn’t hold back and let themselves unwind. They cheerfully joined in by clapping in rhythm with the beats. Suddenly the atmosphere became light-hearted with this overwhelmingly universal participation, something rarely seen on such occasions but welcome nevertheless!
After this wonderful beginning, Mr Vivek Jain, Chairman of the RWITC and his colleagues took their seats on the podium. Mr Jain then addressed the gathering revealing in detail about what was in store for the forthcoming Mumbai season. He discussed at length the prize money on offer and the percentage it bettered compared to the last season, the addition of new sponsors, which the Club commendably, has always added to the list each year. He then dwelled upon the improved infrastructure and also the AC Hangar which would be offered to sponsors at a price much lesser than they would have to pay otherwise, also opening up prospects for the corporate world at looking to the RWITC as an ideal destination to host their events. By and large, he covered all important points on what the new Mumbai season has in store.
The McDowell Signature Premier Indian Derby, needless to say, occupied the top position among the season’s cream races. The prize money for this single event, Mr Jain informed, would be breaching a whopping Rs 2.5 crore mark! In addition to the four Indian Classics (Indian St Leger returning to Pune) a number of Millions and Multi-Million races were allotted to horses across all ages. Special thought had been provided to coin races keeping those owning lesser number of horses as well. Generally all aspects of a bright racing calendar had been planned and implemented in the prospectus.
To sum it up, in Mr Jain’s words, “We have pulled out all stops to showcase the Club and the sport in all its glory. We are looking forward to a splendid season of sport and entertainment. A unique event that has been planned is a cultural Marathi extravaganza on the Club’s lawns in late November. There are many other such socially significant events that will unfold during the season,” Mr Jain said.
Mr Geoffrey Nagpal, Committee member and Steward of the Club had been in charge of overseeing the renovation of the stables. “It was a tough ask with the weather interfering in the work progress until late. However, I am pleased to state that we have been able to make up for lost time and our relentless efforts have been fruitful,” said Mr Nagpal.
A host of sponsors then took turns to express their solidarity with the Club and stating how fruitful and meaningful their race days had turned out to be over the years. This was followed by an interaction with the media which was active and interesting.
During this phase of Q & A, one gentleman from the Cancer Society of India rose to take the mike. He made a touching statement, expressing gratitude to the Club’s active involvement in aiding the society by offering a great platform to raise funds for the cancer-stricken clan. He revealed the extent of help received and the immense benefits that the needy reaped out of this noble exercise which threw light on the Club’s responsible gesture. This attracted a loud round of applause and also prompted another Club member, Mr Ashwin Mehta to stand up and pay accolades to Mr Jain and his team for the relentless efforts they put in each year. This too was acknowledged by the audience bringing Mr Jain to say in lighter vein, that such words of praise was a touch surprising and welcome too, what with the loads of brickbats that usually came their way more often than not.
A cake cutting ceremony ensued to mark the occasion, a curtain raiser of the Season 2011-12. The traditional champagne popping had the shutterbugs crowding the podium for vantage shots of the significant moment.
The awesome foursome then returned on stage to dish out an even more lively performance as the guests started to move about and socialize holding their goblets in hand. Happy faces, warm handshakes and the odd thumping on the backs continued through the late evening.
On the Glamour and celebrity front, it is learnt that cine star Bipasha Basu will visit the racecourse on day one, starting off another exciting trend of visiting celebs. Balaji Productions too will make their presence felt at the racecourse as they would be coming too and will look to promote their film ‘Dirty Picture’ starring Vidya Balan. The leading actor, it is learnt, will perform a dance sequence which again is a first, if it does happen. Whatever the add-ons, the racing action will remain at its best, as is the case each year. Some of the country’s top notch horses like Dandified, Speed Six, Field Marshall, In the Spotlight are expected to arrive here of for the Classics to take on local talents like Hills And Stars, Smashing and Pronto Pronto to name but a few. The presence of Bennett & Coleman along with Procam will boost the media presence for the Club and with plans to take live telecast of races to an international level, Mumbai racing once again showcases the best of racing action in the country.
RWITC welcomes you all to the racecourse and extends best wishes and good luck for the forthcoming season starting off on Sunday 13th November 2011.