The creme de la creme of Indian racing will descend on the Garden City this weekend for the 61st edition of the Indian Turf Invitation and hosts Bangalore Turf Club are eager to pull out all the stops within their limitation to ensure it’s a roaring success.
While the weekend will witness a total of 16 races with combined prize money of around Rs 3.6 crore on offer, the spotlight will be on four races — Zavaray S Poonawalla Sprinters’ Cup (1200M) and Dr MAM Ramaswamy Chettiar of Chettinad Memorial Stayers’ Cup (3000M) on Saturday, and Maj PK Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (1600M) and Royal Arion Club Indian Turf Invitation Cup (2400M) on Sunday.
“I’ve been coming to watch races since 1967 and this is one race that I don’t miss at all,” said BTC and Turf Authorities of India chairman Shivkumar Kheny during the draw ceremony on Thursday where a new trophy was unveiled. “This is the mother of all racing where the best horses from across the country are invited to compete. While the focus is on four events, all 16 races draw top-quality field.
“With so many derbies happening across the six premier racing centres in the country, a horse may miss out on competing in one particular venue owning to schedule. But that’s not the case with Turf Invitation where trainers and owners take pride in seeing their horse compete. This is what they call the playground of champions and winning the big races during the weekend is more than pride.
“It’s what everyone in the racing industry aspires for. BTC can’t wait to host it for a 13th time and despite being hit financially due to GST and Covid, we can’t wait to stage it and ensure it’s grand success,” added Kheny while applauding Royal Arion Club for coming onboard as the sponsor for the blue riband event.
Royal Arion Club (RAC), a United Kingdom-based company, is a global private members club and a digital sports club dedicated to elevating the horse racing experience in India. “It’s been 10 years in the making,” said RAC founder Hugh O’Donnell. “It all began with my brother and I sitting and talking about entering the Indian horse racing market at a coffee shop in Mumbai 10 years ago. Glad it’s all come together nicely and our digital platform will be out this weekend during the Invitation weekend. We just hope it’s a sign of great things to come for us and Indian racing.”
Apart from the action at BTC, the annual Turf Authorities of India racing awards will take place on Saturday evening where the season’s Champion Owner, Champion Trainer, Champion Jockey, Champion Stud Farm and Horse of the Year will be announced along with the prestigious Hall of Fame.