BENGALURU: The Bangalore Turf Club’s earnest attempt to have a mini racing season in lieu of the cancelled Summer Season has received a setback with 10 jockeys testing positive for Covid-19 on Monday. In all, 55 jockeys underwent a Covid-19 test which was mandatory for them to get a licence for the forthcoming racing seasons. The club is planning an eight-day racing season in September and October.
President of the Jockeys Association of India Pradeep Chouhan confirmed that several of its members had tested positive. “The association was in the process of taking a Covid-19 insurance to cover the jockeys and their families,” he said.
The club had begun the process to resume racing. The licensing of jockeys had to be completed with the new rules in place for the preparations to pick up. BTC had announced that the outer stand track which was used extensively to prepare the horses for racing was ready and was only waiting for the formalities of licensing of jockeys to be completed. The jockeys had visited the office to complete the formalities and since many of them have tested positive, their primary contacts have to be traced. The BBMP authorities sealed the office on Monday and sanitised the place. The BTC has applied for the licence to conduct racing but it is yet to receive any information in this regard from the government.
More than 800 horses are based at this centre. Racehorse owners have so far spent more than Rs 15 crore towards maintenance of the horses with no hope of earning any stake money in the absence of racing. Secretary of the Karnataka Racehorse Owners Association S Padmanabhan has written to turf club authorities to give a subsidy of Rs 7,500 per horse for the next four months.
The BTC has extended Basic Maintenance Credit for two months. However, the request from racehorse owners to give them subsidy hasn’t been considered favourably as the club says it is under financial strain and cannot help them.