BTC calls off Winter season

BTC calls off Winter season

Jockey David Egan on horse Anjeze wins the Bangalore Oaks (Grade II) at Bangalore Turf Club in Bengaluru on Saturday. | DH Photo: Pushkar V

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the racing activities hard across the country, with most of the race clubs deciding to discontinue the winter meeting till further notice. 

The Bangalore Turf Club, which cancelled Friday’s races, has drawn curtains to the season. Vinod Sivappa, BTC’s chairman, said that the club had no option but to follow the government advisory.

“The government has already sent out the message. All events that draw mass gatherings have been shut down. So, following the order and keeping public interest in mind, we have put an end to the winter meeting,” Sivappa told DH. 

Apart from the races on Friday, Bengaluru’s winter meetings still had two race days left: March 14 and March 21.

Sivappa said the cancelled race days will be added to the forthcoming summer meeting. “We have done that in the past. Look, to miss out on three days is a loss for BTC but considering the situation, we aren’t too bothered about the financial aspects,” Sivappa said.  The chairman added that he would hold a formal meeting on Saturday with the trainers, jockeys and owners to formally wind up the season. 

Meanwhile, the inter-venue betting at the BTC has been suspended till further notice. 

Sivappa further said that though the season is over, the club would take all precautionary measures against the virus. “We will follow the guidelines given by the health department and the top hospitals. The trainers, jockeys and all the employees had already been told the importance of using sanitisers. Paramedics will be visiting the BTC regularly,” Sivappa said. 

The stewards of the Madras Race Club (MRC) too cancelled the races scheduled on Friday in Chennai while the Royal Calcutta Turf Club on Friday suspended all racing activities till further notice. 

The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) in Mumbai will take a call on the season after a managing committee meeting on Saturday. The Mahalaxmi racecourse is scheduled to conduct racing on Sunday but according to a source, just like other centres, the RWITC will follow suit and cancel racing activities.

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