RWITC committee donates Rs 15 lakh to save Pune Derby

Updated: Oct 10, 2019, 07:30 IST | Prakash Gosavi | Pune

In the absence of a sponsor the Pune Derby, the plum event of the Pune monsoon racing season, was in serious trouble as it has to offer a guaranteed stake money of Rs 40 lakh for the race

Zavaray Poonawalla
Zavaray Poonawalla

Pune: In an unprecedented move, the Zavaray Poonawalla-headed group of five, which recently got elected to the managing committee of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) Ltd, stepped in to rescue the race club from what would have been an embarrassing situation for the once-premier institution with the grade 1 Pune Derby just round the corner (October 13).

In the absence of a sponsor the Pune Derby, the plum event of the Pune monsoon racing season, was in serious trouble as it has to offer a guaranteed stake money of Rs 40 lakh for the race. But with only Rs 25 lakh in the kitty as sweepstakes contribution, the race club, already in dire financial strait due to the presence of an exorbitant (28%) GST and absence of bookmakers, was staring at a gaping hole of Rs 15 lakh with only four days to go.

However, club chairman Zavaray Poonawalla & his four colleagues — Geoffrey Nagpal, Surendra Sanas, Ms Zeenia Lawyer and filmmaker Milan Luthria — decided yesterday to make good the shortfall of Rs 15 lakh by personally donating Rs 3 lakh each.

"We are not stepping in as sponsors," chairman Zavaray Poonawalla told mid-day, making clear there were no strings attached to this money and that they did not wish to derive any mileage from this magnanimous move.

"We just wanted to help the club in these tough times. We are also going to make sure the Derby day features many more attractions for the crowds, and everyone takes home sweet memories of our best day," added Poonawalla.

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