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ONE SMALL THOUGHT by Prakash Gosavi




It is time some responsible official of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) devotes his time and attention minutely to the way racehorses are being weighed before the races; because more often than not, the figures, especially about the fluctuations in body weight, directly correlate with the fluctuations in the odds of the horse in question.


After all, in Indian system of racing, the fluctuations in odds are taken much more seriously than anywhere else in the world.


I generally don't give too much importance to fluctuations in a horse's body weight unless a formerly fit horse suddenly looks like the bull statue outside the Bombay Stock Exchange. So I never thought one day I would have to write about this topic. But looking at some repeatedly bizarre weight gain/loss announcements right from Day One of this Pune racing season, and the subsequent performance of the horse many times being quite contrary to the implications, makes me wonder if someone is taking advantage to manipulate the system and mislead the betting public.


The real pity is that race-goers cannot question the authenticity of these figures even when 20, 30 & 40 kg weight gains are declared, because anything is possible when horses are coming out of a resting spell of close to 3 months between Mumbai and Pune seasons.


But then they naturally presume the horse may have just lazed around to put on that kind of weight, and tend to ignore such horses even if their paper handicapping gives such horses a winning chance. These people are obviously going to curse the race club when such horses win, spreading more bitterness about the conduct of racing.


And they can't really be blamed because there were just too many instances this season in just three weeks. Sample these winners: Fearless Nadia (+24 kg), Silver Beauty (+25 kg), Germanicus (+20 kg), Flying Show (+36 kg), and today Zanzibaar (+23 kg) & Champagne (+22 kg).


I am not even talking about Secret Flame (+18 kg), Swaraj (+17 kg), Cavalia (+18 kg) and Sentosa Cove (+17 kg), because though close to the figure of 20, they are still, technically, below 20 kg.


While that's the story of weight gain between two racing seasons, what raised more eyebrows yesterday about the weighing process was that the punters were told Rock In Rio had lost a substantial 16 kg in barely 2 weeks after his last run (had he stopped eating?), but what they discover is he is spiritedly backed by some smart people, and wins like a champion!


There certainly is something rotten about this whole horse weight declarations business, and the earlier the club puts it under the microscope, the better it will be for the sport.



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