Racing Extravaganza To Mark 36th Arc Inauguration

Over 500 international delegates will arrive in India this weekend to participate in the 36th Asian Racing Conference (ARC), which will be flagged off at the picturesque Mahalaxmi Race Course.

The Turf Authorities of India, which include Royal Western India Turf Club, Royal Calcutta Turf Club, Bangalore Turf Club, Madras Race Club, Hyderabad Race Club and the recently inducted Mysore Turf Club, are the official hosts but it’s the RWITC which has the privilege of staging the six-day conference with Cyrus Poonawalla at the helm of the organising committee.

There will be a soft-inauguration of the conference at the races next Sunday — which coincides with the running of the Villoo Poonawalla Indian Oaks — at the hands of none other than Princess Zahra Khan, the eldest daughter of Aga Khan IV, herself an ardent lover of the sport like her father. Apart from the Ladies’ Derby, Sunday’s racing extravaganza has several big-ticket events on the card including the Asian Racing Federation Trophy, which has on offer a purse of one-crore rupees.


This one-of-its-kind event dedicated to the showcasing of various aspects of horse-racing is held every two years on a rotational basis by members of the Asian Racing Federation (ARF), the regional apex body for thoroughbred racing in Asia, Australia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

Apart from its main goal to promote thoroughbred racing internationally, the ARF’s idea behind hosting the conference is to provide a common international platform for major stake-holders in the game like racing administrators and turf representatives.

The business sessions are presided by eminent personalities drawn from various fields relevant to the sport’s welfare and it’s the place where the delegates share their expertise and exchange ideas which gives them all an insight into the complexities that surround the sport.

Several keynote addresses will be delivered at this year’s conference by Louis Romanet Chairman, International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chairman ARF, and Brian Stewart, committee member IFHA. The Indian speakers will be represented by veteran horse-breeder Farokh Wadia, RWITC chairman Zavaray Poonawalla, RWITC’s marketing chief Vivek Jain, Cyrus Madan and B Shivaprasad.

The organising committee has ensured that it’s not a case of all work and no play for the delegates. Apart from a city-tour, a Bollywood night has been arranged along with a sit-down dinner which will have a lavish spread of Parsi delicacies.

A flying visit to the famed Poonawalla Stud Farm by the delegates on January 29 will mark the finale of the ARC.


Although over 500 delegates hailing from 25 countries are attending the 36th ARC, the Indian racing fraternity’s participation has been very dismal considering the fact a host nation can hold such a conference only once in two decades.

The organising committee members were clearly not impressed with the indifferent attitude shown by the Indian race-horse owners and trainers towards this significant event, which offers them a critical and better perspective of the game. Even at this late stage, Poonawalla Sr has offered to subsidise the payable registration fees by twenty-five percent to encourage the more participation from the horse-trainers’ fraternity.

Published on Pune Mirror