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Cole Race Book Turns 90 This Year
MUMBAI
By Mahendra Mallya
Thursday 25 Mar 2010
The racing action at the Mahalaxmi began in the early 1920s. Scores of Champions have won fiercely fought battles. Champions come and go by the years. Some forgotten, some etched to memory for life. Weekends have turned into months, months to seasons, seasons to years and years to decades. One entity has gone on, stuck it out year after year, decade after decade, without missing a single detail of each and every race across multiple centres. This indispensable entity has remained ‘off-track’ yet has dominated the turf by its sheer towering presence and utility. An entity called the Cole Race Card, standing the test of time like no other, entering its 90th year of dominance. 
 
Presented by the Turf Printing Works, anyone connected with the racecourse, regardless of his/her status, would simply be lost without the “Blue and White” book, some even calling it the race goers’ Bible! “We have always endeavoured to keep it simple and do the basics right,” says Mr Vijay Adwalia, the owner of the publication. “It’s not easy and it is indeed a thankless job. The deadlines under which we work are too short and in this venture there is zero tolerance for error. I am fortunate to have a very dedicated and efficient team of experts who are extremely competent. You should see my office at work; it would seem the work force is constantly on ‘High Alert’. There is no chaos though and everyone does his assigned job with distinction.” 
 
Races are run right through the year at different centres with inter-venue betting almost every day of the week. The Cole book is available for races held at Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mysore, besides its home centre Mumbai and Pune. Not only are the books up for sale in Mumbai and Pune, the Cole book is also dispatched to all the centres. 
 
With back-to-back race days, there is not a moment to relax. “The layout, the content, the proof-reading, the setting up for print and the post printing procedures have become a lot easier these days with the raid advance of technology,” says Mr Hemin Adwalia, the fourth generation of the Adwalia family easing into taking the ropes of the family business. “I wonder how we managed during the earlier days when this was all done manually! One can now realize how efficient and hard-working our earlier generations were in putting together one of the most difficult and exhaustive compilations with past records, timing, distances of each runner and the day to day track work of horses so accurately and meticulously. It sure was a Herculean task. Their effort certainly gave true meaning to the expression ‘work is worship’. Our ancestors were truly extraordinary and immensely dedicated. Admirable indeed,” concluded Hemin, completely in awe of the originators of the Cole - Motee as it was first called. 
 
A lot has also changed over the years as per the changing demands with the passage of time. Certain nostalgic memories are worth taking the journey down memory lane. The initial copies of the Cole – Motee, were priced at three Naya Paise per copy for a couple of years. During the Queen’s visit, the price had scaled to 15 paise. There was a time when Cole used to produce a special edition called the Cole ‘Wadhera’ - a ‘kaccha’ book, slating the runners accepted to race during the corresponding race day along with the probable riders and ‘first-look’ choices for the races. The Cole, during those times too, was absolutely dedicated to public service as it is to date, and would bring out an instant print out of the day’s results with all details as to the distances and timing of each race with tote dividends et al, within minutes of the last race of the day. 
 
“The efforts of our elders in putting together a complete race card has been as tremendous as it has been enormous. It is only when I took over from my father, Late Mr Vallabhdas Adwalia that I realized the kind of efficiency needed for such an important publication. There is a lot of responsibility that rests upon us to provide our patrons accurate material so that they can thoroughly enjoy this lovely sport and we also put in hours of deep analysis to offer our selections with the sole intent of enhancing their chances of a making the race day lucrative as well,” says Mr Adwalia. 
 
The sponsors too, impressed by the circulation, are eager to have their race and logo displayed at prominent pages of the Cole. “We are quite traditional about the outlook of our book, hence you don’t see much change on the front cover. However, we do make allowances to commemorate rare and high-profile events and give the front cover a make over to signify the event. Our front cover had the picture of Her Highness Queen Elizabeth when she had graced the turf. Those are nostalgic memories. We are proud to have been bestowed kind acknowledgments from prominent politicians and industrialists endorsing our contribution over the years,” recalls Mr Vijay Adwalia fondly and with a hint of pride.
 
The advent of computers and technology has made it far more convenient for the present generation. It is so much easier now to store data and at a press of a button, one can get any required data in a jiffy. Yet, it takes a lot of time and effort to get the final copy ready to hit the stands. It goes through a stream of quality check to ensure that all the content is thoroughly examined for accuracy. Over the years, ideas and innovations have been implemented to make the book user-friendly and easy to leaf through. Potent information, which helps decide investments, thereby enhancing chances of returns is one of the main reasons for the success of Cole. Cole’s selections are universally accepted as the most consistent and the selections are genuinely helpful. Be it the horse connections, the racing patrons or even the bookmakers, the Cole book has remained a handy ready reckoner for every racing enthusiast. This has encouraged the publication no end and the team of Cole race book is highly motivated with the ever-increasing patronage.
 
“Cole has been the only ‘first favourite’ to oblige each time,” adds Mr Adwalia mirthfully, stressing on the pun. “It is our endeavour to guide our subscribers as accurately as possible in this tricky business of horseracing. The very popularity of Cole on sheer number of circulation is authentic testimony that we have succeeded a lot more than the rest. Ninety years is a long time. We have remained at the top ever since our inception. We are proud of our achievements and humbly thank our countless subscribers for their continued patronage.” he concluded.