The Monsoon racing meet is all set to kick off on Tuesday as scheduled. Apprehensions about the initial lack of entries were unfounded as the opening day’s card of seven races suggests a promising season ahead.
The meet will comprise of 25 race days spread over four months and conclude on October 16. There are 175 races scheduled to be run during this period, of which 39 will be cup events. The Club has approximately 569 horses in station comprising 160 two-year-olds and 409 older horses. A further 40 horses are expected to arrive later.
The advertised stake money for the monsoon season is over Rs 6.65 crore and trophies and cups valued at Rs 10 lakh. This is a considerable hike compared to the monsoon meet of last year where advertised stake money was about Rs 5.76 crore.
There are 19 ‘A’ licensed trainers including the induction of Manvendra Singh, who was till recently a registered assistant trainer to Pesi Shroff. Eight ‘B’ licenses have been issued to trainers P Shroff, Shyam S Habbu, J S Dhariwal, Imtiaz Sait, R.R. Byramji, Darius Byramji, Pratap Kamath and F Sirajuddin.
‘A’ licenses have been issued to 33 jockeys while 11 ‘B’ licensed riders and 9 apprentices jockeys will be seen in action. Prominent among the riders to don silks will be local champion Christopher Alford, Shailesh Shinde, Imran Chisty, Suraj Narredu, P S Chauhan and Neeraj Rawal.
The Monsoon Derby to be run on October 6 is the season’s plum and has added money to the tune of Rs 30 lakh. Some of the other major events are Calcutta Juvenile Sprint (Aug 18), Calcutta Monsoon Sprint (Aug 18), Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes (Sept 8), Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes (Sept 8), The Stewards’ Cup (Sept 22) and The Monsoon Cup (Oct 13).
It is reliably learnt that ‘night racing’ plans have run into several obstacles, but the RCTC administration is still hopeful about the outcome.