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RCTC all set to host a veritable feast of racing this weekend

RCTC member Cyrus Madan, right, announcing the details of the Invitation Cup weekend races in the presence of, from left, stewards H.P. Ramchandani and Enrico Piperno, HPSL chairman Suresh Paladugu and RCTC chairman Sudipto Sarkar.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) will have the honour of hosting the 62nd running of the Indian Turf Invitation Cup, after six years, on March 3 (Sunday).

It could not have come at better time as it gives the RCTC the opportunity to showcase the remarkable progress and turnaround that it has made in the quest to take racing back to its competitive best in the ‘City of Joy’.

The Invitation Weekend is punctuated with six ‘Graded’ races — four Grade-1, one Grade-2 and one Grade-3. With a total prize-money of ₹40 million, it is the richest weekend ever in RCTC’s history.

As the city gets ready to welcome this Racing Carnival Weekend, the stewards and officials can take a bow as they have worked tirelessly to make sure the 2024 edition will be remembered in the years to come.

The HPSL Indian Turf Invitation Cup (Grade 1), run over 2400 metres, will be the pièce de résistance. While the Zavaray S. Poonawalla Sprinters’ Cup (Grade 1) over 1200m would be a blinding test for speed, the Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy Chettiar Of Chettinad Memorial Stayers’ Cup (Grade 1) over 3000m would be a grueling test of stamina.

Also sharing centre-stage would be the Major P.K. Mehra Memorial Super Mile Cup (Grade 1) over 1600m for specialist milers, the Suresh Mahindra Multi Million Trophy (Grade 2) over 1400m that is between a classic sprint and the specialist mile, and the Dashmesh Stud Calcutta Million (Grade 2) for juveniles run over the mile (1600m).

Awards ceremony

More celebrations will happen on March 2 when the RCTC will play host to the ‘Turf Authorities Of India Racing Awards’.

These awards, to be given away for the best performances amongst owners, professionals, and the equines, for the period November 1, 2022 to October 31, 2023, are: Champion Owner, Champion Trainer, Champion Jockey, Champion Stud Farm and Horse Of The Year. In addition there is the Hall Of Fame Award for outstanding contribution and achievement in the field of racing.

A record 176 runners have been declared to start this weekend at the RCTC. 25 visiting trainers, 16 local trainers, and about 51 jockeys are likely to be in action during the weekend.

In a span of 48 hours, the men will be separated from the boys as one ushers in a new set of champions.

All-in-all, it promised to be a veritable feast of racing punctuated with entertainment, pageantry and fashion.

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