Sunday, December 25, 2005

Galloping into pages of history

Galloping into pages of history
The Times of India

Bangalore: When four stewards dreamt of setting up a race club in December 1920, the Bangalore Turf Club was born.

They say that the turf club has been responsible for turning paupers into princes within hours and the other way too. Little wonder that hundreds rush to the turf club each time mane beauties set the turf on fire.
After Major R H O D Paterson, Leslie Miller, Major J M Holmes and C N Suryanarain Rao decided to set up a race club on September 9, 1923, the lands were leased to the Bangalore Turf Club by the Maharaja’s government. The agreement read, “The said lands will be held in the sole possession of the Race Club Committee so long as they are utilised for a Race Course.’’

Then, men were required to pay while entry was free for women. Later in the 1930’s, the priority was to bring about improvement on the track, ensure diversion of Race Course Road for connecting it with Crescent Road and make provision for water.

Help was sought from none

less than Steward Jack Higgins, who advised the Jockey Club of England for appointing stipendiary stewards. He suggested that the southern side of the course be altered to form a continuous curve. He also wanted all the turns to be improved by raising the track’s outer portion.

The 1937 BTC rulebook indicates how the club supported hunting and polo in Bangalore. Interestingly, the minute book reveals that the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) regularly contributed to the rail fare of polo ponies brought over to Bangalore for tournaments. It also appears that the polo grounds were located in Ulsoor and Domlur areas. Since the beginning, apart from supporting other equestrian activities, BTC contributed regularly to various charities.

In fact during the second World War, the club was among the many organisations that raised war funds. The treble event pool of Rs 2,057 remained unpaid. Then BTC committee decided to contribute this amount to the Madras Mail War Plane Fund through the Mysore State War Relief Fund. The committee decided shortly afterwards to contribute the Rs 1,000 saved by cancelling the stewards’ luncheon and the race ball to the Mysore Plane Fund.
The race track here is a challenging one. It is an oval-shaped, righthanded course measuring approximately 1950m with four sharp curves and pronounced gradients. The downhill backstretch drops 13.10m (43 feet) from 1,800 to 800 metres and then climbs 11.58 m (38 feet) from the point to the winning post, with a further rise of 1.5 m (five feet) from the winning post to the 1,800 m marker.

This demanding and testing race track, with its gradients, bends and a distinct short straight, places a premium both on the speed and the endurance of the horses and the skill and experience of the jockeys.
To win on this track is considered an achievement. So when the dust blows as some of the world’s finest horses gallop on this track, it’s a fight they don’t give up till the end.


Post a Comment

<< Home