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By Ikram Khan | 19 Jun 2024 | BANGALORE

BTC Chairman Mr Arvind Raghavan

The mandarins of the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) decided to waste no time and get the sport back on track on Saturday June 22. The decision surprised most, who doubted the ability and capability of the managing committee to quickly put the horse in front of the cart and get going after the pillar to post  80-day struggle.  Following the green signal from the high court, interim order by Justice Krishna Kumar permitting the club to conduct racing and betting, the club following a meeting with the trainers and owners in the evening on Wednesday  decided to kick-start the delayed summer season with a two day week-end start on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday June 23. The chairman of the Club, Arvind Raghavan disclosed that the trainers and owners  and more importantly the administrative personnel of the BTC and contract labourers readily agreed to play their role in a bid to get racing at this centre back on track and  my team wholeheartedly acknowledges their support., Arvind revealed that the interim order by the High Court was a big relief for the racing fraternity. `Horse racing is being conducted at this premier centre for the last 163 years before the big jolt and to come out of it proved to be an exacting exercise, said Arvind, adding that the fact that licence was denied from April 1 has cost the state exchequer 15 crores, while the BTC has lost seven crore in this period.

The court decision to permit the club to conduct racing and betting including off-course betting on racing at all the other premier racing centres was most satisfying from the point of view of the more than 2000 contract labourers including vendors and tote operators solely dependent on the racing activities. The court made it clear that the club needs to adhere to the provisions of the law and the conditions imposed by the government and the state government is at liberty to monitor and regulate racing operations when required.

"We will follow the government guidelines and play by the rules," said Arvind while pointing out that the smile is back on the face of stake holders who suffered big losses.

To the credit of the management committee, it must be mentioned that despite the uncertainty the men calling the shots stuck to the task and with support coming from the.professionals were ready to get the ball rolling in quick time. It is also learnt that the club has roped in one big sponsor for all the summer and the following winter classics and that's a healthy sign considering the financial crisis staring at the face of this premier racing centre. 

 When posed with the question, will  bookmakers will be permitted to operate?  no was the answer, Arvind Raghavan pointing out that betting at totalizator alone will certainly help the club generate higher revenue and  

with the announcement from BTC to start the summer season from Saturday, the railbirds delighted with the interim order of the High Court and the `Quick Gun Murugan' approach of the BTC committee are working out the many permutations and combinations to strike it rich on the much delayed first-show on Saturday.