The Madras Race Club will have the honour of hosting the 60th running of the Indian Turf Invitation Cup on March 5 and 6 in its Diamond Jubilee Year. It could not have come at a better time as it gives MRC under the dynamic leadership of Dr. M.A.M.R. Muthiah the opportunity to showcase the remarkable progress they have made in their quest to take racing back to its competitive best.
The race returns to the City of Chennai after six years. This is horse racing at it’s very best as horses, professionals, owners, breeders and racing aficionados from across the country will check in for what has often been described as The Masters Of The Indian Turf. It’s a veritable carnival of racing. The total prize money is a whopping ₹40 million.
The Indian Turf Invitation Cup came into existence in1963 and was run at the Mahalaxmi Race Course under the auspices of the RWITC. It was run over the traditional Derby distance of 2400 metres or a mile and a half and its outcome would ascertain the Champion four-year old in India. It was only fitting that it was won by a colt named Mount Everest.
The event incorporated a new avatar in 2013 when the race was opened up to older horses.
In 1979, it was decided to introduce a Sprint Championship — A test for speed. Every Time was the horse who won that inaugural running of the Sprinters’ Cup, once again in Bombay. Two years later, a test for stamina entitled The Stayers’ Cup came into being and the Madras Race Club had the distinction of hosting the inaugural running. It was won by that remarkable horse Own Opinion.
In 1983, Hyderabad Race Club gave specialist milers a race of their own and the Super Mile came into existence. The year was a watershed year in the history of the Invitation Cup Weekend. Hyderabad Race Club ushered in a new epoch by bringing in VST Industries as the first ever Corporate Sponsors of the Invitation Cup and thus was born the Charminar Challenge Invitation Weekend.
Cut to the present, the first weekend in March will separate the men from the boys. It’s a Grand Slam and a Grand Prix rolled into one. It’s a weekend that one just cannot miss.