Night racing at the Mahalaxmi racecourse: The furlong and short of it

The opening night of the after-dark racing calendar carried a charming vibe and enjoyable overheards

Night racing got off to a galloping start yesterday at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. The green emerald of SoBo looked breathtaking under the floodlights. When the sun surrendered to flashlights, the crowd started pouring in.

Also read: Trainer Malesh Narredu talks about furlongs under floodlights, as gates slam open for evening racing at Mahalaxmi Racecourse

let the good times roll: A Rolls Royce was part of the pomp and pageantry of the evening, and rolled out during the trophy distribution ceremony. pics/SURESH KK and shadab khan
Let the good times roll: A Rolls Royce was part of the pomp and pageantry of the evening, and rolled out during the trophy distribution ceremony. Pics/Suresh KK and shadab khan

The racing honchos had bowed to the selfie trend. The big draw was a selfie corner with Shetland ponies imported from England in two enclosures. Brought in from Pune’s Poonawalla Farm, these ponies, the smallest in all of South Asia with a height of 29 inches, were a big draw among the children.

of wheels and the well-heeled: RWITC Chairman Zavaray S Poonawalla at the award ceremony
Of wheels and the well-heeled: RWITC Chairman Zavaray S Poonawalla at the award ceremony

It was not all kid stuff though. A gentleman looking at his racing book over his reading glasses was overheard telling a gent, “Look at the horses; our age to look at two-legged fillies is gone.” This earned him a snort from his friend.

GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES: The Shetland ponies were a big draw
Good things come in small packages: The Shetland ponies were a big draw

There were a number of pop-up food kiosks, and we spotted two young ladies idling at a Yours Drooly pop-up eatery, debating on which wantons to order. “Don't eat the fried ones if you want a waistline like the jockeys,” one of them said before collapsing into giggles.

OF HEADS AND TALES: Hats off to a new dimension in Mumbai’s night life as revellers thronged to the race course
Of heads and tales: Hats off to a new dimension in Mumbai’s night life as revellers thronged to the race course

A fireworks display had some crusty old race-goers in the paddock, mumbling about how, “animals will get scared of the tamasha,” followed by an unprintable expletive.

Also read: Studs race at night on the Mahalaxmi racecourse

A CRACKER OF AN EVENING:  Fireworks at the end of the night kept the audiences captivated
A cracker of evening:  Fireworks at the end of the night kept the audiences captivated

Overall, it was an evening that carried an unforgettable vibe. With the first day setting the ‘bar’ (pun intended) so high, it is to be seen if this sustains through the next 18 days of the evening racing calendar.

TREBLE OR A TANALA, IT IS TERRIFIC: Mumbai’s who’s who came out to watch the horses and mingle
Treble or a tanala, it is terrific: Mumbai’s who’s who came out to watch the horses and mingle

For the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), that it was well begun is half the work done.

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