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Silver lining for night racing at Mahalaxmi racecourse

All that glitters is not gold, it is silver, actually. The Mahalaxmi Racecourse is playing host to a 23-kg sterling silver trophy, probably one of the priciest sports trophies ever in India, valued at approximately Rs 10 lakh.

Top prize: RWITC chairman, Zavaray Poonawalla with the 23-kg silver trophy
Top prize: RWITC chairman, Zavaray Poonawalla with the 23-kg silver trophy

The silver cup, engraved with horses below, is four feet three inches in height, and three feet in width. It will be given to the winner of the Zavaray Million race, to be run at the track on the first day of night racing at Mahalaxmi on Saturday, January 9.

19 nights of racing
This Mumbai racing season, will have 19 days of night racing, which means racing begins from 4 pm and goes on till 8 pm on that day. It is a carnival atmosphere, with races to be run under floodlights. The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) chairman, Zavaray Poonawalla, has won the title rights for evening racing, which means the evening racing programme will bear his name.

The trophy was unveiled at the Tote on the Turf (Neel) restaurant yesterday (it took three people to carry it up to the first floor restaurant). It will be kept in the Poonawalla Lounge, in the members' enclosure, where it will stay till January 9 and will be given to the winner. The trophy will be heavily guarded. Said Zavaray, "I always believe in giving from the heart, and, never expecting in return."

Says Harshad Vedia of Goldsmith & Sons, who took a month to make the trophy, "I had eight persons working on the trophy. We have been in the business since 1973. It's the biggest trophy I've made. It is handcrafted, because we did not have a dye-mould for such a big trophy." Zavaray added: "is not a rotating trophy, it's for keeps. Whoever wins it, I hope they have a tempo to take it back."

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