The Madras Race Club (MRC) will resume horse racing in the city on 6 November. The racing season usually starts in October with 34 days of racing. Due to the current pandemic, the upcoming season will consist of races for 19 days only. The feature events will include The South India 2000 Guineas and The South India Derby Stakes.
Many horse owners have faced huge losses since races were cancelled due to the deadly coronavirus. The owner’s welcome the decision of reduction in the days of racing and betting, even though there will be a significant drop in stake money. The owners are hopeful and are looking forward to racing competitions after a gap of 6-7 months.
T. Raman, CEO of MRC, stated that they want to prepare in such a way that minimal spectators are allowed at the race tracks. To ensure their safety, all necessary social distancing norms will be followed. It is still unclear whether the state government will have any spectators inside the premises. He also added, “We are hopeful that the Covid cases will reduce in the next one-and-a-half months and a few spectators will be allowed.” The MRC will develop its own app if spectators aren’t allowed. This will allow punters to make bets online, the technicalities will be finalised in the upcoming month.
The jockeys based in the city have begun training as they prepare for the races. Turf Authority of India has issued a Standing Operating Procedure, which is to be followed by the racing club and the athletes. Covid-19 protocols will be followed ensuring every person setting foot in the premises are checked. The jockeys will also require a fitness certificate and undergo a covid test before they resume racing.
A week ago, the state government approved to conduct horse racing in the city of Bangalore, provided that it is conducted behind closed-doors. Horse racing has always been immensely popular in India, just like it is in UK or USA. Today, India is home to 9 racecourses managed by the Turf Authorities of India, a regulatory body that organizes a number of horse racing events and manages betting booths.
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