Just like other sports that played to 'fanless' arenas, Indian racing too has decided to follow suit. The Pune season, due to begin this month, will now get underway at the Poona Racecourse from August 23, behind closed doors and most importantly, subject to clearance from the Government of Maharashtra.
Zavaray Poonawalla, chairman, the Royal Western Indian Turf Club and the Turf Authorities of India, said he was pleased to announce that closed-door racing was slated to commence at the Poona Racecourse from August 23.
Historic as the event is, it being the first time the event will take place without onlookers, a dress rehearsal is lined up on Independence Day. Since this is a revolutionary beginning to reinstating Indian horse racing in the middle of a pandemic, all checks, controls and balances are of utmost importance.
The dress rehearsal will be conducted and controlled by the managing committee, its stewards and the officials through closed circuit television, on the first day of racing in Pune on the preceding Sunday. Deliberations will be conducted from the homes of stewards and committee members, stated a release.
The opening day will allow only stipendiary stewards and necessary personnel, apart from jockeys and perhaps, trainers, at the race course. Trainers have been asked to stand by with their horses in readiness for the big day.
Further, said the release, most importantly, our official RWITC racing site can be subscribed to on a daily basis, to watch live telecasts and enjoy racing from anywhere in the world. The charges per race day will be announced later and the procedure to subscribe and login will be amply elaborated. The stake money will be 75 per cent of what it was in the latter part of the Bombay Season and the same as it was in the last Poona Season.