Horse racing had come to a halt since the far-reaching of the COVID-19 throughout the country. On Friday, the state government approved to conduct horse racing in the city of Bangalore, provided that it is conducted behind closed-doors. The government’s approval came through following a request from the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) in June.
BTC officials are expected to meet soon and discuss the regulations of the races and put together a plan. A Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for the racing days will be done along with the other stakeholders. It could take about four weeks for the system to be in place. Even though the jockeys have been exercising the horses, they still need time to be horse ready.
On 3 July, the State government gave in-principle approval to BTC to conduct online betting. A mobile application is in the process, where people from all over the country can place their bets on the races and collect their takings through a digital wallet. With the races to be held behind doors, betting is likely to be done online. The arena will be restricted to jockeys, trainers and participating horses owners only.
Last month, 10 jockey’s were tested positive for COVID-19 from a total of 55 jockey’s as BTC attempted to host an eight day racing season in September and October. The coronavirus test was made mandatory for them to get a license for the upcoming racing seasons. Since their return, their temperature is being monitored every day. Entry is barred if there is any variation in the temperature and it is mandatory that they produce a COVID-19 negative certificate to return.
Many horse owners have faced huge losses since the Summer Season races were cancelled. Though the races are likely to be held once a week, horse owners welcome the government’s decisions. seasoned trainer S Padmanabhan said, “It is good news that the government has granted permission to resume racing. It gives us an opportunity to plan for the horses to get fit, knowing that they will race soon.”
Horse racing has always been immensely popular in India, just like it is in UK or USA. India is today 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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