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Need for Speed

The horses have warmed up,and the ladies of Poona have turned up in their weekend best.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | New Delhi |
August 7, 2011 12:41:26 am

The horses have warmed up,and the ladies of Poona have turned up in their weekend best. Under overcast skies and damp showers,the race begins. Rains have never been a hindrance for the monsoon season of racing in Pune — a heady mix of glamour,gambling and fashion. “The monsoon tracks at the Pune Race Course can take a lot of rain during the races,” says Mahendra Maliya,commentator at the weekend races for 20 years now.

The racing season at the Royal Western India Turf Club has got bigger over the last few years. The number of sponsors are up,as are the number of races. The money involved is bigger too — with the prize money at some races going up to Rs 10 lakh.

“The turnaround has been because of the money that is flowing into the races,thanks to the sponsors. Earlier,only a few races got the attention and the hype but now every weekend is different,” says Vivek Jain,chairman of the RWITC. The season started last month and will continue till October 27. Some of the other attractions on the turf are the non-racing events. “Wine promotions,fashion shows,live bands,German food festivals and high teas add to the racing backdrop,” says Maliya.

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