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By Usman Rangila | 20 Jul 2023 | PUNE

After its successful conduct of several weekend race meetings under floodlights at the Mahalaxmi racecourse towards the end of the Mumbai season last summer, the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) is all set to host a compact but competitive monsoon racing season at the scenic Pune racecourse. The forthcoming season comprising of 19 race meetings starts tomorrow, 21st July, and concludes on November 5.

In an interesting move, the RWITC has announced that it will host a three-day racing carnival which will culminate with the Independence Day’s race meeting. According to a press release issued this week, the RWITC, claims that it has increased the prize money on offer from around Rs 9 crore to Rs 11 crore this year.

The main draw of the monsoon racing season will be the Pune Derby, Indian St Leger and the SA Poonawalla Million as usual. Given the depleted number of horses (around 650 including juveniles) in training in Western India and its aim to improve the competitive quotient of racing in general, the club will continue its policy of allowing the participation of outstation horses at this centre and over 50 outstation horses have reportedly arrived at Pune. The outstation contingent will be allowed to contest in all events barring the races framed for lower class horses. As seen during the previous season, the outstation candidates will surely give the local contenders a run for their money.

While the rural areas surrounding Pune are witnessing heavy rainfall and facing a flood like situation since Monday, the city has been spared of the rain God's fury thus far. The weather remains cloudy at the moment but the prospects of the Pune season starting without a hitch are bright.