TIMES OF INDIA
By Shailendra Awasthi I TNN
SECRET BALLOT WILL HELP IMPROVE STEWARDS’ VERDICT: RWITC CHIEF
Pune: Vivek Jain, the chairman of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) feels that the decision of the stewards to change the order of finish in the FD Wadia Trophy, run last Sunday at the Pune Race Course, was a touch and go case. The stewards’ decision to award the race to second-placed horse Su Chaliyo and relegate the winner Ciel Indienne to second place had sparked mixed reactions from the racing fraternity with most race goers criticising the move in cyberspace. Jain also spoke on various issues related to the club with TOI recently.
Was the stewards’ decision last Sunday controversial?
I believe it was a touch and go case. Ciel Indienne’s jockey had lost his whip. Yet he won by a 3/4 lengths. Had he not lost the whip, he may have won by a bigger margin. It was even more surprising that the trainer and jockey didn’t object. It was certainly a debatable decision though the runner up was interfered.
What can be done to avoid such controversies?
We need to have a secret ballot for stewards’ decisions. This will be transparent and prevent some stewards from being intimidated by others. They also won’t be able to play to the gallery by taking popular decisions. I strongly believe this move will improve decision making. The Racing Advisor could also be given a vote, but for that the club’s constitution needs to be amended.
There are reports that RWITC might conduct the Invitation Cup again next year?
Yes. We have been approached as Chennai, which was to host it, says it does not have proper infrastructure to hold an event of this magnitude. Even Kolkata is in the fray, but they say it all depends on sponsorship. The same reason holds good for us too. We will do it if we get sponsorship. I have approached a few big sponsors, but haven’t received a confirmation yet. Even if it’s held in Mumbai, it’ll be a one day affair and not the usual weekend. I am doing my best.
Has the club approached the Revenue ministry for reducing the betting tax?
We’re trying but such changes can’t happen overnight. Once the Pune season gets over, we’ll go to the government with the latest collection figures and try to convince them to reduce the taxes.
What is latest on the Gallops case?
We have terminated the contract with M/s BJR’s for the breaches committed by them including non-payment of conducting fees of Rs 3.25 crore for the year 2009-10 and 2010-11. Though the Small Cause Court has passed an order in favour of BJR’s restraining RWITC from imposing any restriction on the restaurant, the RWITC will be filing an appeal against this order.
What about the termination of the lease and eviction notice from the BMC?
The BMC had objected to certain structural breaches at Gallops, Tote on the Turf and Olive Restaurant. We notified them about the same and they have taken remedial measures. The BMC though is still not satisfied. We requested them to demolish the objectionable structures. As far as the termination notice is concerned, we’ve had meetings with officials who have assured us that we will be given a chance to present our case.