Wednesday, July 08, 2009

If I were a trainer....

Trainers in Pune paddock [RWTIC file photo]

This may turn out to be an interesting exercise.

We, the racing people, have one distinct trait that I think no other community has. Each one of us--a punter, horse owner, jockey, trainer or even a Tote ticket seller--has his/her own opinion on EVERYTHING under the sun, and definitely on ANYTHING related to racing.

So imagine you are a trainer based in western India, and you receive this "Note" from the Stipendiary Stewards a month before the Pune season is about to begin. How would you react to it? Feel free to post your reactions (I have given my reactions in bracket against each point, you may just list the relevant number and post your reaction.)

Note from the Stipendiary Stewards

Re: Norms for restricting the number of two-year-old horses into western India and culling out of older horses with effect from January 2010.

The undermentioned criteria will henceforth be followed to restrict the number of two year old horses into training and to cull out the older horses:

1. The number of two-year-olds to be permitted in western India will be restricted to 350.
(I disagree. Two year olds are "potential" champions and racing is all about meritocracy. Unless the connections race babies, they are unlikely to discover how good or bad they are. So putting a ceiling on their number is 'defeating' the raison d'etre of this sport.)

2. QUOTA SYSTEM: Each trainer will be allowed to have 7 (seven) two-year-olds for a season. However, if a trainer intends to get more than seven babies in his charge, he may approach another trainer who may bring less than 7 babies and use his quota with the latter's consent in writing.
(Is this a joke? Are we trying to bring communism to racing? Good trainers (performers) get more babies than bad trainers do, so why should they be asked to "beg" stables from the losers? And how are they going to "settle" that favour? By "paying" them money? Or by letting them "win" some races by going soft against their runners? I have never come across a more absurd idea in my racing days.)

3. The number of horses in a trainer's yard will be restricted to 80 horses--that is 60 older horses and a maximum of 20 two-year-old horses.
(Again, I disagree with the latter part. At least, let the trainer decide the composition of his lot if he cannot have more than 80 horses.)

4. Horses aged seven years and over who are at rating of below 60 points should be compulsorily retired and will not be eligible for a stable.
(I agree.)

5. The rating of all 4 year old & over horses will/may be dropped by 6 points at the end of each Mumbai meeing and after dropping the scales all horses below the rating of 10 points should be compulsorily removed from western India before allotment of stables.
(I agree. In fact, this can be done twice a year, at the end of both Mumbai & Pune seasons.)

6. All horses aged 4 years & over that have not raced for one year should be retired.
(I think this is an excellent suggestion.)

7. Horses declared unfit/unsound for racing by the Club's Sr Veterinary officer should be retired.
(I agree, except if the owner/trainer wants one review of this expulsion, it should be allowed and norms should be put in place how it should be done. Otherwise, there is a danger some decisions of the Sr Vet may be accused as abritrary, high handed or unjust.)

8. Permission to bring in outstation horses by any trainer must be subject to availability of stables. (I think, under reasonable circumstances, graded and other important listed races should be treated as exceptions.)


By the way, if you are wondering if this is an imaginary exercise, it is NOT. The stipendiary stewards DID send this letter to trainers last month!


  1. Dear Prakash,
    Only you keep us updated with all the latest news
    about the sport we love so much,this really looks like the death knell of racing in western India.
    Really wish that people like you would take over or have some say in the administration of the game.
    Many thanks and please keep us posted of any latest developments.

  2. This is Babudom at its best
    No Direction , No Discretion,No Decision , Only Authority , Really when will people having any kind of power in any walk of life in this country put it to good use.
    Thanks Prakash For This Unbeleivable News

  3. We sincerely request all anonymous posters, PLEASE TAKE UP SOME PSEUDONYM if you don't want to reveal your true identity. It gets confusing when there are more than one anonymous posts. Thanks.

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  4. As usual, RWITC is going in reverse gear, without any foresight. In fact, there should be a cap on older horses, who never win, should be transferred to any other centre. A surprising move too, since Breeders appear to run the show at western India. Hope common sense prevails.

  5. I am shocked by this proposal of quota system. I wonder what has been the trainers (or WITAs) response. Is there a website of trainers? Where can I check the details?

  6. Hi, just for fun i tried to spot how many trainers are in the photo and I found 5. Fais abbas, arti doctor, subhag, karthik & ss shah. there are 2 more. the man in padock center with hands at back & 1 more blue suit at far right side but i cant make out who. Can anyone tell?

  7. chakravyuhabheadakJul 8, 2009, 8:56:00 PM

    damodaran pillai ??

  8. I feel point number 2 and 3 contradict a point 2 each trainer has a cap of 7 two yr olds...and in point 3 its stated that a trainer will be allowed 20 two yr olds.
    Secondly you have to understand the reason for these steps is possibly to curtail horses from bangalore flooding western india as a fall out of them loosing out on their race course.
    The intentions maybe good, but i feel they can come up with a better solution.
    And yes i do feel owners in western india, especially the smaller ones ought to be sheilded from the influx of 2 yr olds expected when the bangalore race course does shut. Its not a free for all, that as and when a race course shuts due to mismanagement you flood another centre, and the number for the 2 yr olds has been obtained i guess by assessing the number of 2 yr olds running in western india over the last couple of seasons...and i personally see nothing wrong in a little protectionism...hyderabad as a centre has even tougher norms, but is a very thriving centre, where everyone has to gain the owners the trainers...and i have to admit the hyderabad tote is one of the best both in volumes and dividends payed.

  9. Dear Dude,

    I spoke to Pradumna Singh from whose office this letter was sent to all traienrs. He said this note was only a "feeler" circulated among trainers to get their feedback about these matters.

    Coming to your points, I don't think there really is contradiction. Reading both points 2 & 3 together, one gets the impression that a trainer can have max 20 babies (7 his own quota + 13 begged or borrowed quota from others).

    Also, I think this note has more to do with availability of stables (read shortage of permanent stables) than with impending influx from closure of Bangalore racecourse. Because the last point (8) takes care of it anyway.

    And yes, I fully agree with you that western India owners (especially the small ones) definitely need "preferential treatment" (the word "protection" I think is too harsh. It has seeds of division which, looking to the future of Indian racing industry on the whole, may do more harm than good, but more on that topic some other time).

    Btw, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. Dear Prakash,

    the circular has to seen in the right spirit as Space is a constraint.

    Protection is MUST for local horses.All the clubs should follow a uniform policy in this regard.Only Classics and Graded races should be OPEN to horses from other centres.

    Non Performers have to be shown the door.Be it Horses , Trainers or Jockeys.

    One Owner , Wadhwan buying 100 , 2 year olds to race in Mumbai or pune makes no sense.He does has a few trainers to maintain the QUOTA.This should be discouraged.Mumbai Owners should not be allowed to purchase all the best 2 year old's based on the MONEY Power.

    What happens in all these cases is the Trainers are under an obligation to the OWNER.

    All Horses which have not WON in the last 10 starts have to shift from Mumbai to PUNE.They should be allowed to return only if the Win is achieved in PUNE.

    There are many Trainers who have a miserable record.How they manage their livelihood is a matter of speculation.Hence forth all these Trainers who are used ONLY for the Quota should be debarred from MUMBAI.Only 20 Trainers should be allowed at Mumbai.

    The rest should be sent to PUNE.Similar to what is happening to bangalore and Mysore.

    many more wishes , which cant be discussed in a public forum.

    good day


  11. Prakash,

    Are you impersonating as Ruchi?
    Some say there is no guy called Ruchi. People lost interest in Dynamic Handicapping and you want to live ever through a non-entity. Is it true?

    Some say, you are jobless, that is why you are available online 24 hours. You are posting your selections for free at the moment on midday site, that is why your selections are not available on print editions, I am told. Is it true?

    All these (mis?)information I have got from some reliable sources, if it is untrue I beg for your pardon. An early reply will be appreciated.

  12. Dear Shyam,

    Thanks for writing in your thoughts on the subject. You have made some interesting points, especially related to non performing horses and professionals.

    However, I believe Pune cannot be a "center for discards" from Mumbai, like Mysore is to Bangalore. It is, in its own right, a good racing venue.

    True, it pales in glamour quotient when compared to Mahalaxmi, but serves the excellent purpose of a leisure racetrack by providing idyllic setting to the same horses, owners and professionals who love to have their share of laid back racing activity. That does not mean it is less competitive, however.

    For a handicapper too, Pune racing provides great intrigue & thrill, as the smallish county-like track with the special monsoon strip in the homestretch forces him to be more creative to stay in the money.

    Prakash Gosavi

  13. Dear Bake Lal,

    Let me begin by telling you that I am NOT jobless, but your "reliable" source sure seems to be if he has the kind of time to monitor me "24 hours". Anyway, since you have asked for pardon in advance in case you are wrong, I presume you are a nice soul, and take the trouble of clarifying, which, I am sure you agree, I have no obligation to do.

    I have been with MiD DAY since 1995 and unless your "reliable" source buys out MiD DAY and throws me out, I plan to continue with the paper.

    Whenever there is space constraint in an edition (mostly due to big league cricket), my selections have been carried on the net because racing as sport is no longer a priority for any newspaper, so it is wrong to blame either me or MiD DAY for that. And it is "sick" to imagine that they are carried on the net because I furnish them free. (While on this, why don't you call me on 98677 10108 and come over to my place to physically verify my bank account and salary cheques? Not a bad idea if it can cure at least one sick mind like your reliable source. And no, I am NOT joking.)

    Next, I am not Ruchi. Mr Jitendra Rawell from Bangalore is Ruchi. I think that's his daughter's name which he uses as a net name.

    He was one of the 41 students from all over India who had attended my first workshop on Dynamic Handicapping in 2003. Here is his number, "0 99014 90138", you or your "reliable" source can call him up and confirm.

    Some days ago he requested me to open a blog for his ratings, and because I did it when my personal gmail account was open in the same browser tab, my identity changed to Ruchi (for a day), which, later, my Blog Moderator had a tough time extricating, a fact I explained on my own blog. You can check it out even now.

    To the best of my knowledge at least 70 of the 115 students are still practising DH, and some of them (like Ruchi) feel it's helped them immensely. I can say so because these 70-odd students are still in touch with me off and on.

    I hope it is now clear that I am NOT Ruchi, and people have NOT lost interest in DH. So I don't have to live through any imaginalry "non-entity".

    My dear friend, I live through my own body and soul, and hope to do so as long as I can keep them both together.

    I would just give one friendly advice to you Bake Lal, don't bet on anything your this so-called "Reliable" source gives as a "moral" certainty, it might turn out to be as "off the mark" as his insinuations about me.

    Prakash Gosavi

  14. dear gosavi,
    I am really happy the way you clarified to Mr Bakelal.I was very disturbed the way he wrote.
    What ever the general opinion,i syill would stand by the coaching you gave me and find it immensly useful.

  15. After what BAKE LAL wrote, you were so restrained in your reply, that you have made a fan-for-life out of me, Mr PRAKASH GOSAVI.
    Sir, you are a gentleman's gentleman; and are to be admired for your elan as well as your racing knowledge.

  16. As his name suggests, one "Bakelal"derailed your whole excercise....


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