BTC to be blamed, say owners and trainers

In the war of words over the cancellation of the final day's Bangalore Races on August 6, it was the turn of Karnataka Racehorse Owners Association (KROA) and Karnataka Trainers Association (KTA), to train their guns on the BTC.

At the media meet here, KROA President Vinod Sivappa and KTA President B. Puttanna attributed the cancellation of races to the ‘high-handed' attitude of the BTC management.

Re-tracing the chain of events, Sivappa said: “BTC had made a case for an extended card of 11 events on August 5 and 6 to compensate for the loss of the first two days of the season, which was not a sound proposition since eight to nine races are held on racing days.

“Framing of three extra races on just two days hardly compensates for the loss of 17 races. Framing of more than nine races is unhealthy for the sport and financially unviable for punters and difficult for trainers and jockeys.”

The KROA officials and the trainers claimed that on August 5, they were forced to go to the paddock to submit a memorandum on the issue as their repeated requests to meet BTC officials in their chambers went unheeded.

“BTC authorities instead of assuring that our request would be considered, treated us in a shoddy manner, which in turn incensed a section of our members. Subsequently, in the charged atmosphere, it was BTC which cancelled the last three races on August 5 and the entire meeting on August 6.”

The KROA and KTA members once again charged BTC with administrative and financial failure putting the club in “a precarious position, when racing in Bangalore itself was under a cloud, with legal battle over the continuation of races at the present venue.”

They claimed that BTC had failed to respect owners, trainers and jockeys on several issues, which caused a lot of ‘heart burn'. “BTC doesn't have a clear policy on stabling two-year-olds in advance and adopted half-hearted measures. With the arrival of two-year-olds from auction, the owners were forced to house them in temporary facilities and pay rent,” said Sivappa.

On the financial aspect, they claimed that BTC had mismanaged its accounts to the extent that it was left with nominal reserves. “Given such a dismal scenario, our associations would welcome a comprehensive audit by the State government or by any other independent agency,” said the KROA president.

The KROA and KTA representatives alleged that the BTC instead of being the regulatory body, had assumed “arbitrary powers to dictate terms to others in the racing fraternity and has taken unilateral decisions like releasing the prospectus and it failed to formulate its stand on various labour issues, which affect the livelihood of over 2,000 staff.''

“Racing in Bangalore is going through a very difficult phase and BTC should take corrective measures by having an open dialogue on all issues with us. We are ready to go half way,” said KROA Secretary Arvind Raghavan.

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