Less is more for the Mumbai seasonBy Turf News | 04-Apr-2019
With only two weekends remaining for the 18-19 Mumbai Season, the run of six race cards, makes one think that the maxim, less is more, is the order of the day at the RWITC, as racing winds down after a gruelling five months.
Six races a day used to be the exception rather than the rule, but with finances needed to be watched, it appears that a rupee saved is a rupee earned! The usual practice of dividing races has been done away with, except when the need to ensure at least six races are held on a day.
In this background, the running of the Dubai World Cup last Saturday brought into focus the huge gap between the management and resources to stage mega-events. The “World Cup” race day offered a staggering $35 million in prize money, or nearly Rs 250 crore, with the single $12 million World Cup race, offering prize money about twice the total payout by the RWITC over a full year!
The force behind Dubai’s success is Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai and a keen racing aficionado. The Ruling family’s Godolphin stable swept to four wins on World Cup Day, including the feature, where Thunder Snow became the first horse to win the Cup twice.
The RWITC stewards would do well to relook at the policy of distribution of prize money. Rewarding maiden two/three-year-olds with Class 1 stakes so early in their career, is a breeder oriented policy, and ought to be revisited.
At least in the short run, an incentive to new owners and/or coming up with a “fair play” prize, as in cricket, for trainers, owners and jockeys, based on a point system, may improve the declining image of the game and in sync with the fair racing mantra!
The reducing horse strength at Mumbai is a reflection of the uncertainty on the future of the sport, which many feel is going through its darkest days. The current number at 939 is down from 1,000 and will probably test the 900 mark sooner or later. Surprisingly the two-year-olds arrivals have shown a marginal uptick to 232.
Syndication worked up to a point, but new ideas will have to be thought of to market the sport to those not that familiar with the game, to not only potential owners but also as racegoers, and especially to the Next Gen, who have to be lured with stories of the magic of horse racing.
Courtesy Vivek Jain TOI