Bengaluru Turf Club turns battlefield

Punters go on rampage after 3 horses fall.

Bengaluru: Punters went on the rampage at the Bengaluru Turf Club (BTC) on Race Course Road on Friday afternoon after three horses fell and their jockeys suffered minor injuries on Friday. The protesters broke the furniture and smashed the glass panes of ticket counters before a posse of policemen arrived from the High Grounds Police Station and contained the situation.

The BTC cancelled all the six races that were scheduled later and refunded all the bets placed by the punters.

The bettors were furious as the favourite, ‘Will to Win’, rode by one of the top jockeys in the country, Suraj Narredu, fell during the race. Two other horses galloping behind too crashed to the ground. That was when all hell broke loose. Fortunately, all the three jockeys suffered only minor injuries.

DCP (Central) Chetan Singh Rathod, who visited the spot, said that they recommended the cancellation of races for sometime because of Friday’s incident. “We have obtained the CCTV footage. We will arrest the miscreants,” he said.

Track, the culprit

Blaming the Monsoon Track for the disaster, jockeys had said that is was substandard, though the Bengaluru Turf Club had spent Rs 3 crore on it.

Ms Anitha P., Acting Secretary, Jockeys Association of India, had warned the BTC on November 11 about the horrible condition of the track. “The jockeys who have participated in the mock race and the jockeys who have watched it, still feel that the track is not firm and horses are not finding grip as usual, which could be dangerous to both the jockeys and horses. Hence, the members of the Jockeys Association of India are requesting you to allow two more mock races before the commencement of the season,” she wrote to the BTC.

Suraj Narredu took to Twitter to slam the BTC tracks. “All three of us (jockeys) have escaped with minor injuries. I have a sour back. We are waiting for MRI reports. This is the worst track we have had at BTC in years. Unfortunately we are paying for someone else’s blunder,” he tweeted.

Mr Vinod Shivappa, Turf Club Chairman, said that on Saturday, they are going to examine the spot on the track where the incident occurred. From Monday, mock tests will be conducted and then the races will begin, he said. There is no connection between the Jockeys’ Association report and Friday’s incident, he maintained.

“Money has been refunded to all the bettors. The three jockeys who fell have escaped unhurt. They are being treated for small injuries,” he said.

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