Despite the sport of horse racing facing its worst existential crisis, the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) has published a very attractive prospectus for the Pune season, offering stakes of Rs 11 crore for s small, but well-spread-out, popular monsoon season. The 19-day season begins this week, on Friday, July 21, and will conclude on Sunday, November 5.
There are 654 horses stationed at Pune, including 188 two-year-olds who will be groomed for their future careers, some of them–the precocious types–will make their debut during the season. From other parts of the country, 56 horses have already arrived at Pune and more are likely to come, looking to get a piece of the rich stakes.
As regards horse trainers, 6 outstation trainers will try their luck against the 31 based locally; and 9 top visiting jockeys will add depth to the already abundant riding talent, represented by 55 local boys.
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If you are a Mumbaikar who loves Pune racing, and have never missed the Independence Cup (Aug 15), you will have to hurry up and make your travel and stay arrangements in advance this time. The race club has offered a three-day bonanza leading up to the Independence Day (Sun-Mon-Tue, Aug 13-14-15), which will take one of the most popular races of the season to a new level this time. The other notable weekend will be in October, featuring two-day racing on Sat & Sun (Oct 14 & 15), the feature being the Pune Derby (Gr 1) to be run on Sunday.
Group races at a glance:
Gr 1: 2 | Gr 2: 1 | Gr 3: 8
July: Fri, 21st; Fri, 28th.
August: Sat, 5th; Sun, 13th; Mon, 14th; Tue, 15th; Sun, 20th; Sat, 26th.
September: Sun, 3rd; Sat, 9th; Sat, 16th; Sun, 17th; Sun, 24th; Sat, 30th.
October: Sun, 8th; Sat, 14th; Sun, 15th (Pune Derby); Sun, 22nd.
November: Sun, 5th.
(Total: 19 days)