Racing set to resume: BTC

The shortage of syces notwithstanding, the Bangalore Turf Club has decided to go ahead with the races scheduled for Friday and Saturday as well as next month’s Indian Turf Invitation Cup.

The decision was taken after the Karnataka Race Horse Owners Association (KROA) and Karnataka Trainers Association (KTA) held a meeting with the BTC management.

“We have taken a firm decision and the racing will continue. The races on Friday and Saturday and also the races on March 3 and March 4, which includes the Invitation Cup, will be held as per schedule,” said BTC chairman Srinivasa Gowda.

The syces turned hostile towards the owners creating chaotic scenes at the race course last week and subsequently, the races on February 17 and 18 were cancelled. After that incident most of them failed to return to work fearing more trouble.

“Only a very few syces returned to work. But the trainers have made alternative arrangements for the smooth conduct of the races. Trainers have also taken responsibility of screening the syces to make sure of employing well-mannered stable hands,” added Gowda.

To make up for the shortage of syces, trainers have hired temporary labourers. “Only a handful of syces returned to work until today, but the riding boys, jockeys, jamedars, farriers and others are working in tandem. We also hired some labourers,” said B Puttanna, president of the Karnataka Trainers Association.

But seeking a permanent solution to the long-standing dispute, the turf club management is planning to screen the syces and will ask them to sign a declaration before employing them.

“We prefer to employ new people and those syces will be thoroughly screened. We will also ask them to sign a declaration which will have rules and regulations, so that we will have a permanent solution to the problem,” pointed out Arvind Raghavan, who is one of the government nominees and a managing committee member of the BTC.

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