Pune: The Turf Authorities of India (TAI), a loosely formed apex body of six turf clubs of India, have come together to discuss about a host of issues that are centric to the survival of the sport.
Crisis often cements relationships and could well be the glue to bring together the often disparate views between clubs on major policy matters. The recent move at reciprocity rubbishes the belief expressed by some on the committee, that TAI is a toothless body and is best treated as such which is foolhardy, to say the least.
It is gathered that subjects such as a national tote, sharing of racing dates, commonality of prize money and prospectus conditions, were on the agenda at a recent joint meeting.
While we have always been strong proponents of an All India tote, that would pool the betting of clubs for all bets laid, it seems the date of this seeing light of day is yet some way away, if ever. Speaking to the chairmen of a few major clubs, they were clear that this is only an idea so far, and concerns on a common treatment on GST, having a uniform bet value and identical deductions across all pools is fraught with problems, and to get six clubs to be on the same page is a tall order.
One chairman was forthright that the outcome of BTC’s writ on the GST notification has to be first studied, and another said that the fallout of a common tote on inter venue royalty and its impact and benefit to clubs has to be evaluated.
The decision of our stewards to permit outstation horses to race in April, one hopes, is a precursor for a free movement of horses between Clubs all year, and is not a one off decision to get higher fields for the extended Mumbai season.
It is understandable that a national norm of prize money has been fixed for graded races sometime back, but if individual clubs are being asked to drop their general stakes to bring all clubs on par, as is believed, is surely most anti-owner and without merit.
The proposed move (even though we gather it has been temporarily stayed under objection from the trainers) to suddenly impose an ‘all entries’ instead of all acceptors’ must run is an absolute shocker. The owners will not have the chance to study the handicaps for their best target race, as horses are often entered in more than one race and fewer entries will mean a drop in revenue to the club.
If the objective is to get larger fields by forcing advanced entries, it is akin to attacking the disease without curing the symptoms.
Subjects such as a national tote, sharing of racing dates, commonality of prize money and prospectus conditions, were on the agenda at a recent joint meeting of the apex body.