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Business as usual after long wait

The racing fraternity is heaving a collective sigh relief these days. With fears of equine influenza epidemic a thing of the past,the buzz around the race course has returned.

Buzz is back at Race Course as horses check in for season opener on Jan 31

The racing fraternity is heaving a collective sigh relief these days. With fears of equine influenza epidemic a thing of the past,the buzz around the race course has returned. After almost two-and-a-half-months of delay,the horses have checked in at the Mahalaxmi Race Course with the first race of the season schedule for the last day of this month.

“It’s nice to be back,” says Nirad Karanjawalla who has been training horses for over a decade. “I really missed the place and the thrill that this place offers,” added 40-year-old,who has 13 horses under him and expects two more new comers in next couple of days. “All my horses are in good condition and I have not seen any ill effect of the infections that they have overcome,” said Karanjawalla.

The outbreak and spread of the equine influenza towards the end of the Pune Season in October had delayed Mumbai season as the movement of the horses was stopped by the Animal Husbandry Department.

With the ban lifted two days back,the annual exodus of horses from Pune to Mumbai started.

“I have never seen horses in such a fantastic condition for a long time,” said veteran trainer Narendra Lagad,who has been in business for almost more than three decades and most number of horses under him than any other trainer in Mumbai. “They had a long break and that means they will be fresh for the season. The time they spent in Pune helped them to recover,” added Lagad.

With the racing season already underway in Delhi and Kolkata,after a similar outbreak,and the horses showing no disturbing sign; the trainers in Mumbai are upbeat. “We got good news from Delhi and Kolkata that all is well with the horses. That has given a great deal of confidence,” felt Jodha,who has 60 horses in his stables. “This is a practical thing and we are still learning everyday,” he added.

Jodha says that the RWITC’s Core Committee had helped the trainers in combating the infection. “Australia had witnessed the same problem a year ago and committee spoke to them and passed on the information to us. That proved to be a big help,” added the trainer who has been around since 1989.

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Jodha informed that authorities at the RWITC have decided that now onwards,no outstation horse will be allowed in Mumbai without quarantine for over two weeks. “After these horses spend two weeks in quarantine in Mumbai,our senior vet will check and verify vaccinations and then only they will be allowed to compete.”