Stars align for RWITC as season gets under way - By Vivek Jain
Posted on - 03 Aug 2022
STARS ALIGN FOR RWITC AS SEASON GETS UNDER WAY
By Vivek Jain
The Pune season got off to a flyer last week as the RWITC moved into top gear to dust away the memories of the last two years. It is as if all the stars have aligned and Fate delivered a favorable hand to the Club.
There was a sense of nervous excitement on the opening day as the sport had overcome its most serious test of the pandemic. Whereas the buzz on the opening days was on the impending start of the National Tote , the rumors making waves was the revival of a proposal from a potential benefactor whose largesse could hand the club a sizeable corpus. Though financially a no brainer, it has to come with strings and conditions attached, and the members will ultimately have to make a head v heart decision, as and when it fructifies into an offer that finds favor with the Committee.
Whereas the Club has spiked the stake money thanks to the sponsorships, the plethora of good news was somewhat dented with the Committee withdrawing the 20% performance incentive to owners, which means a reduction of 17.5% to what was advertised. The Club’s stakes are the highest in India anyways, so the incentive, owner friendly, ought to have continued. The entry fees which were also hiked to 3% last year, need to be rolled back to the hitherto 1%, as the 3% will now be levied on the higher stakes and increase costs. Owners have gone through two difficult years, and the stakes increase notwithstanding, the rationale of the the incentive cut, which only hurts the owner, and does not benefit the Club, is not understood.
Another challenge has been the declining number of horses, down to a low of 650, though the rising prize money should reverse the trend. The reduced interest in owning horses also needs to be addressed by the Committee. Syndication has not taken off, and thankfully a suggestion I made months ago to reduce minimum share of an owner to 5% was accepted, but has not been largely circulated.
A friend, Deepak Mankar, in one of his several recommendations to me , had suggested forming an all India group of experienced racing enthusiasts who are willing to do a “blitzkrieg type of operation” and invest their time “pro bono” with the objective of a “mission- image- makeover” for the sport. Idealistic?
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