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By Ikram Khan | 23 Dec 2017 | BANGALORE

Ikram Khan

The racing fraternity is delighted. The Bangalore Turf Club is pleased. The racing buffs are celebrating. It is a big Christmas gift from the government to BTC. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has played the perfect Santa and he will give away the goodies wishing all a very happy New Year on Tuesday, Dec 26, the approval date for the licence to conduct racing at this premier centre. And the thunder of hooves will bring home big crowds when the starter brings down the flag in the first week of the New Year.  

Following the High Court`s direction to form a monitoring committee and start racing at this premier centre in 10 days, the BTC managing committee spearheaded by chairman Harimohan met and held discussions with the Finance Secretary I S N Prasad on Saturday and agreed to form a six-member monitoring committee, four from the government and two elected stewards from the club. Top sources in the government inner circle revealed that T Jayaprakash and M R Kamble along with a retired judge who is likely to head the committee and a senior member from commercial tax department will constitute the four-man government team on the monitoring committee along with two of the three elected stewards of the BTC.      

Now that the monitoring committee structure and its role, to oversee racing operations finalized, a formal nod from the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will help the club to resume its activities after the government had held back the licence from Sept1. The new arrangement, it is learnt is for a period of one year. A delighted Harimohan Naidu disclosed that the meeting with the Finance Secretary was most satisfying. The chairman believes that the monitoring committee will function as an Ombudsman. “The present committee will stay and racing activities will be held as usual under the BTC,” said Harimohan.

“The good point is that the sport will resume and the racing fraternity is delighted, It is a perfect New Year gift for more than 2000 employees including the daily wage earners who were hit hard ” said Harimohan.

It is also learnt that the club is keen to start off-course betting before they get the horses back on track for the winter season and that will only be possible if the government agrees to provide the licence on Dec 26, the scheduled date for the approval of licence.

Meanwhile the BTC is likely to conduct only 17 meetings this winter however, all the Classics, run in the winter season will be rescheduled. It is also likely that the Shapoorji Pallonji group who have been great benefactors of the sport are likely to sponsor the 1000 & 2000 Guineas.

 “Now that the ominous clouds have cleared our horses will be back in action and it’s time for song and dance all night long,” said a leading trainer pointing out that most trainers at this premier centre were getting their horses fit and ready after Justice Bopanna directed the government and BTC to get racing back on track in 10 days.