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In support of the Maharashtra government's efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic and also taking into consideration the safety of its patrons and workforce, the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), has decided not to conduct live- and inter-venue racing from March 14 until further notice.

This move comes a day after the Bangalore and Chennai turf clubs decided not to hold races.

With the announcement on Saturday, racing comes to a halt at the Mahalaxmi racecourse for now. However, officials are optimistic about improvement in the COVID-19 situation and will reschedule the remainder of the Mumbai meeting races.

“Yes, we will reschedule the races if the situation improves in April,” said NHS Mani, secretary and CEO of RWITC, talking to The Free Press Journal on Saturday.

The Mumbai season may end prematurely, with a couple of main races scheduled in the remaining days of racing.

The first main race is the Forbes Breeders' juvenile fillies' championship, a Grade 3 for Indian fillies which was to be held on Sunday at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse.

Shapoorji Pallonji Breeders’ Shapoorji Pallonji & Co Ltd Juvenile Colts’ Championship (Grade 3), the R M & Rukmani Goculdas Mr. Laxmikumar Goculdas Million, StyleCracker Gold Cup StyleCracker, Maharaja Sir Harisinghji Trophy (Grade 2) and the Hyderabad Race Club Trophy.

Situated in the heart of Mumbai city, the Mahalaxmi Racecourse track is a familiar oval shape. It was born from the marshy land that used to be known as Mahalakshmi Flats. Built in 1883 and modelled on the Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne, it is spread over land facing the sea.

The racecourse was originally donated by Sir Cusrow N Wadia and today, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has leased it out to the RWITC, which runs the racecourse. The Grandstand, off the course, is a designated heritage structure.

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