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Giddy-up for the New Year

If 31st night is all about ringing in the new year on a high, the morning after is about putting your money on the high horse! The New Year Races is a Calcutta tradition that packs in speed thrills, style statements and if lady luck obliges, “prosperous” beginnings too.

Just ask Parna Banerjee. “I bet Rs 50 on a whim at the New Year Races last year and won a neat Rs 1,250. I spent it on pizza and ice-cream,” grinned the 32-year-old, who’ll be back at the stands for a galloping start to 2014 for Eveready presents New Year Derby in association with The Telegraph at Royal Calcutta Turf Club.

Starting at noon, there will be nine races, including the big-ticket Kunigal Stud Indian Produce Stakes and the Eveready RCTC Gold Vase. This year there will be a t2 Cup as well.

So, the first thing you need to do once you arrive at the Racecourse in your fashionable best is get hold of the “race card”, a small booklet that will give you all the information you need about the day’s races — horses, owners, jockeys and track records — everything except the answer to THE question: which one should you place your bets on!

In between placing your bets, hop over to the food court that will serve everything from hot dogs and pasta to Chinese and South Indian delicacies, and wash it down with beer and more. A DJ will spin up a merry mood and the hooves will kick up a storm.

“This is the first time Eveready has come forward as a sponsor during the New Year Races and we hope they will continue to do so in future. Coming to the races on January 1 is a Calcutta must and we’re expecting around 25,000 people. We’ve arranged for a gala spread at the food court,” said Anit Casyab, assistant general manager (racing), RCTC, who’ll also don the commentator’s cap on Wednesday.

Entry tickets are priced at Rs 200 and will be available at the Racecourse head office on Tuesday and at the RCTC gates on Wednesday.

You can bet to “win” or bet to “place” but you can bet on one thing for sure — it will be a royal start to the new year.

For a style guide to the New Year Races, watch out for Wednesday’s t2