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HOWZAT? Stray dog finds horse blood sachets at Pune racecourse

Matter to be discussed at the next meeting of stewards, says RWITC chairman Vivek Jain

Pune: In a bizarre incident that provided more grist to the rumour mills already in overdrive with stories of doping of horses in the air, a stray, barking dog at the Pune racecourse led an enthusiastic animal activist to a mound from which sachets containing horse blood were “unearthed” on Sunday.


RWITC chairman Vivek Jain. Pic/Shadab Khan.

This “mysterious” finding was immediately reported to the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) administrative office in Mumbai. They swung into action, and Dr Anil Kumar, chief veterinary officer, inquired into the incident and submitted his report.

Ironically, the sachets had an imprint of Nanoli stud farm which was in the news recently when its owner K N Dhunjibhoy had alleged criminal conspiracy against him and his trainer Pesi Shroff after their filly Bullseye tested positive for banned steroid Boldenone.

“I haven’t got all the details yet,” Vivek Jain, chairman of the race club, told mid-day, “but I feel the animal rights activists’ concern was not unfounded, because I am told eating that stuff would have caused the dog’s death. I have told the additional secretary to place the matter on the agenda for the next meeting of the stewards.”

That’s a surprise
When contacted, Dr Ravi Reddy, chief veterinarian of Nanoli stud farm, however, expressed surprise over Jain’s remarks. “The chairman must get his facts right,” said Dr Reddy, “the waste generated by the equine hospital, the laboratory and the Disease Research Center at the racecourse is routinely disposed of by the club about 20 km outside the Pune city limits as per the regulatory requirement, and the racecourse management has been kind in helping us dispose of our farm’s waste along with theirs for a number of years now.

“However, even I am surprised how the waste ended up inside the racecourse premises this time,” Dr Reddy added.

He claimed he was shocked when Dr Anil Kumar sent him an image, asking for explanation. “This must be viewed as a serious lapse,” Dr Reddy agreed, “but my inquiries revealed there was a break in the chain of command this time because one of the key persons who looks after this exercise, Manoj Deshpande, was on medical leave due to a bypass surgery, and those who handled it at the ground level were perhaps not aware of what they were doing. Dr Anil Kumar too knows about this, so I fail to understand why a mountain is made out of a molehill.”

. Dog led animal activist to mound where sachets were located
. RWITC swings into action; Dr Anil Kumar submits report
. Chief vet at Nanoli farm surprised

Mother's blood plasma vital for offsprings

When asked what this waste was about, Dr Ravi Reddy told mid-day that when a mare drops a foal, it is a standard practice worldwide to administer the mother’s blood plasma to the offspring to ensure their immunity levels are fortified.

“At Nanoli, we do it on Day 1 and Day 15 after the foal is born,” he explained. “Those sachets contained blood that was left over after removing plasma for this purpose.”

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