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Statement by Vivek Jain, Chairman, RWITC, on the commencement of the Pune Racing Season 2014

Posted on - 23 Jul 2014

Statement by Vivek Jain, Chairman, RWITC,
on the commencement of the Pune Racing Season 2014:
The 2014 Pune Racing Season is in all readiness to “gallop” off the blocks, we hope to the accompaniment of thunder and lightning! High prize money, a Season packed with sponsored races, hospitality and media partnerships, we have it all. The most eagerly anticipated monsoon racing season, promises all that and much more! The highlights :
PRIZE MONEY: The prize money payout is expected at about Rs. 11.5 crore, not including sweepstakes, and on par with the last racing season, and probably the highest for a monsoon racing centre in India.
PERFORMANCE BONUS: The performance incentive payable to owners at 30% is also now payable to fourth placed horses. The payout will be over Rs. 2 crore on the enhanced stakes sanctioned last year.
SPONSORSHIPS: The RWITC continues to lead the way in attracting record sponsorships and the coming season will be no exception. Contributions of over Rs.1.15 crore is on par with last year, and virtually every weekend will feature a sponsored/graded race as has been the norm for the past several seasons. The RWITC remains most appreciative of its contributors and partners who add a special dimension to the sport.
It has to be emphasized that in view of the general cut-down in marketing budgets across the board by several Corporates, and the unfamiliarity with the sport makes it always difficult to attract sponsorships of the magnitude expected by the Club. Inspite of the external environment, the Club has done well in scheduling a packed season of top races over the entire three months.
We welcome six new sponsors to our rostrum this Season. Omkar, Prithvi Edifice, K Club of Ireland, Goel Ganga Group and Mr. Sanjeev Mahajan, join the RWITC as contributors.    
THE NANOLI STUD PUNE DERBY AND THE SIGNATURE INDIAN ST. LEGER (GR.1): The Pune season’s only two Grade 1 races remain The Nanoli Stud Pune Derby and The Signature Indian St. Leger (Gr.1). The Pune Derby has become synonymous with Nanoli Stud who would be sponsoring Western India’s first classic for the new crop for a record 18th year in a row. The Dhunjibhoy family will, as always, also sponsor the Sprint Million on the same day, as an added bonus. The Derbyweekend will also feature the hugely popular Oktoberfest, for the fifith year running, thanks to the munificence of the Indo German Chamber and its associates, and is as big a draw as the Derby itself.
The Indian St. Leger returned to its rightful place at Pune three years back, which has been its traditional home. Permanently shifted back to Pune, this last of the Indian Classics gives the season an added dimension and is sponsored by RWITC’s biggest contributor, The UB Group with Rs.2.1 million in added money and would be run on the last Sunday of September.
THE RACING PROGRAM: The season will as always feature a number of Millions and Graded races for each age category, the highest for any monsoon season in India. As may as 20 races(including The Pune Derby and Indian St.Leger) will carry a minimum prize money of Rs.1 million which is commendable for a short season. And, Pune once again gets the privilege to play host to the first two year old Million race in the country for the new crop.
The minimum prize money for Grade 3 races has been enhanced to Rs. 1.5 million and for Grade 2 to Rs. 2 million, in line with the recommendation of the Turf Authorities of India (TAI). Hence the bigger races get a boost.
INTERNATIONAL SPONSORSHIPS: Pune takes credit in attracting the highest number of international sponsorships of all racing clubs in India with Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, Goffs, Coolmore Stud, K Club, Connolly’s Red Mills, Thoroughbred Remedies Manufacturing and Tattersalls all sponsoring races at Pune. Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and Goffs jointly sponsor the Grade 2 RWITC Ltd. Gold Cup for the third year and Coolmore, TRM and Tattersalls are contributing to Million races.
The Irish Race Day on the concluding day with six Irish contributors is unique and we hope to promote it as a tribute to our magnanimous foreign partners.
HOSPITALITY AND MEDIA PARTNERS: The RWITC is perhaps the only racing Club in India to strive for, and obtain, a range of hospitality and media partners. Our association with Radio One, DNA and G2 continues to spread the good word for the sport and the Club. Races will be run to acknowledge their most valued association.
We have proposals from other media houses to partner us at Pune.
INFRASTRUCTURE: The Committee is taking steps for improvement in infrastructure every year for both horses and members. The popular LED screen would once again be placed across the track.
The newest development is the conversion of the entire race track into a monsoon track with proper cambering. It has been a mammoth exercise but made difficult to kick off due to the scanty rains. We need the support of the fraternity to give the only all monsoon track in India a chance to stabilise.
Another feature will be a new area for the first enclosure of nearly 6000 sq. ft., situated in proximity of the Food Court, and new Tote counters. A large LED screen will be positioned in front of the public stand.
RWITC AND CHARITY: The Club has associated with various charitable institutions in the last couple of years. The Threptin Fillies and Mares’ Stakes Race will be in aid of the Indian Red Cross. We hope to add further associations to our charitable partnerships as the season progresses to build on our expanding Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
ENTERTAIMENT AT THE TURF CLUB HOUSE AND RACE DAYS: As a gesture to our member, we hope to have a full calendar of events covering theatre, music and food at both The Turf Club House and on select race days.
NEW GRADED RACE AT PUNE: In line with the path breaking initiative of the Turf Authorities of India, a national pyramid for pattern (group) races will be in force from 2014-15 . RWITC is a beneficiary with five new graded races to be added to our pattern races. The Noshir and Dolly Dhunjibhoy Sprint Championship and The Akkasaheb Maharaj Trophy will be run as Grade 3 races from the next Pune season.
HOOFPRINT: In our endeavour to reach out to our significant membership base, we innovated with “Hoofprint” an email news letter informing our patrons of upcoming events and developments at the Club. This would be continued at the Pune Season. The RWITC has always encouraged creativity in all its communication and Enormous from Mumbai will handle our creative campaign. Our prospectus cover carries an image shot by Padmashri ace lens man Raghu Rai who was commissioned for the 130th Anniversary of Mahalakshmi Race course celebrations, in line with lending a creative touch to a special publication of the Club. 

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