The start of the Bangalore Summer Season is always jinxed. There are invariably hurdles to cross before the season gets into a rhythm. All these years, strikes by the professionals engineered by the Raghavan brothers who headed the KROA to promote themselves curtailed the programme. That problem has been solved as these worthies have become part of the establishment and one of them even became a Steward. However, the jinx continues with the start of this season getting delayed due to the Karnataka elections. When the racing did start, it got washed out on the second day after just two races were gone through.
This year, more than 100 outstation horses have arrived to take part in the short season. However, this was not reflected in the entries for the first week. Entries were poor, with just seven races being programmed to be held on the first two days. Whether this could be attributed to the lack of preparedness of the outstation and local horses or due to the prospectus not matching the requirements of the majority of horses belonging to different categories is something that the authorities should know better (?). The murmurs doing the rounds are that the Racing Committee keeps interfering with the programme so much so that even the acceptors cannot be released without the approval of the committee! This is something that had never happened before.
While just one race was lost to rain on the first day, the second day saw heavy rains consume five of the seven races. This could well be the norm if there is consistent rain during the season. Earlier, rain and the summer season went hand in hand but now with the track losing its character and unable to handle rain, rain-related disruptions could well be the feature of the day.
Whatever little action that one got to see, was run of the mill. M K Jadhav trained Fast Rain who had run against top-class sprinters came into his own against a modest lot of handicap horses in a six-furlong race. Prasanna Kumar trained Siege Courageous and was a splendid winner over six furlongs. However, one did not get to see any horse with classic aspirations in action. Elpenor and Auspicious Girl should have added some excitement to the action but the race was drowned by the heavy downpour.
The authorities of the club continue to be callous with regard to the live webcast facility. The club charges Rs 500 per day but the coverage is of poor quality. While the action keeps buffering most of the time perhaps because of lack of bandwidth, the expanded view has been disabled for reasons best known to these worthies. This has become a big irritant. The authorities don`t have the courtesy of explaining why they have resorted to this step when other clubs provide much better-quality video with the provision to watch the race full screen either on their computer or television sets. The webcast is provided in a compressed format because the same videos look better when viewed on YouTube.
The Bangalore Turf Club is getting about Rs 4 lakhs from the fee collected for providing the live streaming of races. If the club continues its adamant approach, it is bound to result in more people not taking the facility resulting in revenue loss to the club. I for one would not be paying for this facility from next week as the authorities have become deaf to any complaint or grievance. I am sure many more will follow because so many have called up to express their displeasure. One of the suggestions offered is to use the zoom facility by increasing the screen size from 100 to 150 per cent. This may work to some extent but the quality of the picture gets diluted taking away the viewing pleasure.
There are many good people on the committee. Hope at least one of them responds.