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Monsoon date with equine action

If you’ve ushered in the New Year on a high horse, more speed thrills are coming your way this rainy season. And if you have missed the decades-old Calcutta tradition of going to the races in winter, here’s your opportunity to join in the fun and frenzy that marks a day out at the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC).

The Calcutta Monsoon Meeting 2014 begins on Tuesday, and promises four months of equine action, high stakes and jolly good days in the stands. The monsoon racing season will pack in 162 races spread over 23 race days. Of these, 43 will be “cup events”.

RCTC has increased the advertised stake money by 15 per cent over last year’s monsoon meet. Of this amount, nine per cent is allotted to handicap races, while the balance has been distributed by way of incentives to owners. The total stake money for the season is Rs 8.42 crore and cups and trophies are worth over Rs 11 lakh.

Money matters aside, going to the races is also about dressing up and dressing right. If the winter sees men and women turned out in smart jackets and chic woollens, for the rainy season, we suggest floral prints and breezy chiffons for the ladies and crisp cotton shirts for the men. Ladies, do remember waterproof make-up, with special attention to the eyes, since the overcast skies might mean you won’t get to hide behind your oversized sunnies!

The staff and stewards of the Turf Club, which earned the right to use the “Royal” prefix after a visit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1961, are all geared up for a grand season of racing and socialising.

“Calcutta has had more than its usual share of rain over the past month or so and the monsoon track at this centre is certain to run good from day one. The season promises to be exciting and nail-biting, with lots to offer from action on the turf to great food and drink options on the side,” said Anit Casyab, the assistant general manager (racing and media relations) and commentator of RCTC as he eagerly waits to get back behind the mike in his newly revamped hi-tech commentator’s box.

Entry tickets to the members’ enclosure are priced Rs 200 and can be purchased at the club dates on race days.

Highlights of Calcutta Monsoon Meeting 2014

  • Calcutta Juvenile Sprint: Aug 16
  • Calcutta Monsoon Sprint: Aug 30
  • Calcutta Fillies Trial Stakes: Sept 6
  • Calcutta Colts Trial Stakes: Sept 6
  • Stewards Cup: Sept 20
  • Calcutta Monsoon Derby: Oct 5
  • Calcutta Monsoon Cup: Oct 11