There are 300 vacant stables at the Bangalore Turf Club premises. The cost of buying horses, its maintenance and poor stake money has driven the racehorse owners to despair. Many of them are cutting down on their purchases. The horse owners don`t mind if the stake money can take care of the monthly maintenance of horses but unfortunately, due to the steep GST on betting, the revenues of the clubs have fallen drastically. Under the circumstances, the turf clubs should actively encourage people who still want to invest despite the negatives associated with owning a horse.
The Bangalore Turf Club has been enforcing a quota on the number of horses that a trainer can have. There is a restriction of the number of two-year-olds that a trainer can have. The best of the trainers have been given a quota of 15 two-year-olds. If there is any shortfall because the list included horses which for one reason or the other could not arrive at the stables of the club, the trainer cannot replace the ones which failed to make the cut. Can you believe that trainers like Padmanabhan, Sulaiman Attaollahi and their ilk who have kept the Bangalore flag flying in the all-India competitions have to make do with a limited number of horses. Without these trainers, Bangalore would have long been reduced as a minor racing centre. The club mandarins, instead of encouraging these trainers, are hell-bent on diluting the quality of racing. The handicap system is the bane of the sport and the quota system which tries to further dilute quality and merit is sure to hurt the sport in the long run. And all this when Bangalore has 300 vacant stables!
Racing is good for the patrons when there are at least a few reliable stables on whose horses` punters can trust to get a run for their money. The quota system has ensured that horses are spread out not in quality but only in quantity. You may give the best horses to some of the trainers, their intention is only to gamble. And this means pulling wool over everyone including the punters who are the backbone of the sport. This, in turn, brings a bad name to the sport where suspicion and mistrust rules. We don`t have good professional Stipes and the elected Stewards have no clue about the sport except their bloated egos which sees them take decisions which can only bring a bad name to the sport.
The present BTC Managing Committee has been a big let-down. Though there are some good people in it, the board has been manipulated by Harimohan Naidu and Satish Chandra. The last named has been playing havoc because of his prejudices. He is seen openly interacting with one trainer and doing everything at his command to ensure that the stables where horses in whom he has interests either because they are owned by his friends or for reasons best known to himself, are given the best of facilities including proper plumbing, lights, sanitation et al. The rest are given a raw deal. This is a charge made by the other trainers. Satish Chandra had been an owner of a horse named Govardhan who was given the race on objection to suit the betting interests. The scandal ensured the banning of racehorse owners as Stewards. Such a person should have been kept out and should not have been allowed to become a steward.
His friend in the committee Mahendra Kuga Shankar was forced to resign as it was found out that he had an interest in a horse which was against the Articles of Association. A Steward should not have owned a horse for three years before becoming eligible to contest as a steward. Mahendra Kuga Shankar was also alleged to be owning horses in the name of a trainer. The BTC Managing Committee tried to sweep the issue before it exploded on its face.
Former ICC Umpire and Member of Bangalore Turf Club A V Jayaprakash believes that the issue of Kuga Shankar does not end with the resignation of the controversial steward. The matter must be probed how in the first place the scrutinizer failed to get the necessary information as also the fact that a Steward was guilty of perjury, says Jayaprakash. ``If the government had been hostile and if it had come to know that BTC was a party to the breach of the Articles of Association, the club was in danger of jeopardising the sport. I think there should also be a probe on the accusation that some of the Stewards have interest in horses,`` said