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By Mahendra Mallya | 22 Jul 2015 | PUNE

Mark 23rd July on your personal calendar as the suspenseful racing season at Pune takes off at the picturesque Pune racecourse, the second arm of the RWITC. The 27-days racing is to conclude on the last Sunday of October (25th) 2015.

The monsoon and the chill weather that Pune is bless with, makes the season one of the most looked forward to, both by enthusiasts and horses as well. For those in Pune the season is long awaited and for Mumbaites, the drive down for the races is like a ‘forced’ vacation each week. No one complains, though!

The Nanoli Stud Pune Derby (Gr1) shares the top race status with the Indian St Leger (Gr1). Rich stakes and high prestige attached to these races make it the most sought after races of the season. A list of attractive ‘Million’ and graded races add glamour and value ensuring the competitive edge maintains highest standards right through the season, which signs off with the longest distance race in the country run over 3200 m, which is a furlong more than the Stayers’ Cup, during the concluding week.

As has been the case for years now, every weekend sees a sponsored race, a feature only the RWITC has managed to achieve in the sport. The total stakes for the PuenSeason 2015 hovers around an impressive Rs 13 crore mark. International Sponsors such as Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and Goffs have always enjoyed their days at Pune and their continued association with the RWITC brings in that international touch to the season.

The Derby weekend will also see the IGCC bringing in the German touch with the Oktoberfest that has remained a favourite for the Puneites ever since it began years ago. Famous German beer and cuisine with traditional German festivities has always been a huge success in Pune for years.

What’s new? Well, lots new!

The existing Stand adjacent to the Weighing Room and completely refurbished and air conditioned for use of Members / Owners.  A small portion on the Second Deck of the Grand Stand Building is being enclosed and air conditioned for use of Owners. The stand diagonally across the Weighing Room/Paddock is being refurbished / air conditioned for the use of Members / Owners all Race Days.

Additional seating arrangement is being provided for the General Public in the First Enclosure and a new Mega LED Screen has been installed for better viewing.

 The Inner sand track is completely refurbished from 2000 meters to 1000 meters anti-clockwise.

The entertainment at the Pune Turf Club House includes the Theatre, Music & Food Festivals.

The Club’s print partners, Pune Mirror and our Radio Partner, Radio One, continue to support in promoting the sport and the Club’s activities and races will be run to acknowledge their associations. 

The competition between professionals has always been thick at Pune and the monsoon making its strong appearance make racing that much more exciting and tricky and some of the talented thoroughbreds hone their skills here on this track. Last year’s Pune Derby winner Quasar, owned by Jaydev Mody and trained by Malesh Narredu, soared to great heights going on a multi-classic winning spree. The genuinely solid achiever hardly got his due as his tall efforts particularly in the Invitation Cup was marred by the fall of Be Safe, the latter considered almost invincible. Quasar had the last laugh though, beating Be Safe twice subsequently at Bangalore a lot more convincingly to prove his class and stand his own.

I am going to follow the Pune Season closely, looking out for another champion in the making during the new season, wouldn’t you?