Navy Cup and Hooghly Cup Horse Race, Kolkata
Navy Cup and INS Hooghly Cup Horse Race
Race Course Kolkata
Equestrian sports and horse racing has been an integral part of Kolkata’s culture for centuries. During the winter races are held in Race Course located at the southern end of Kolkata Maidan.
The first recorded horse race in Kolkata was held in 1769 and was held at Akra, near Budge Budge about 30 km south of the city.
The races shifted to Kolkata in 1812 roughly as the same location as today. Calcutta Turf Club (CTC) also known as the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) was official formed in 1847 to govern the rules and regulations concerning racing and protecting the interests of the turf in Calcutta.
The Indian Navy has always taken great pride in associating with the equestrian sports throughout the country and has actively patronized these events.
The Navy’s association with RCTC goes back to more than four decades when the formal institutionalisation of dedicated races became the norm. The Navy has been endorsing two prestigious races at RCTC, Kolkata namely the Navy Cup and the INS Hooghly Cup.
The Navy Cup was presented to the RCTC by Admiral S N Kohli, PVSM, Chief of Naval Staff on 22 December 1974.
The INS Hooghly Cup is named after the Indian Navy establishment which was commissioned in Calcutta in February 1954 as INS Hooghly, now known as INS Netaji Subash.
The INS Hooghly Cup was instituted in 1994 on the 40th anniversary of the Naval establishment at Kolkata.
Although the Navy Cup and INS Hooghly Cup are new compared to the long history of horse racing in Kolkata but they do attract a large number of eminent Kolkatans. The Navy and INS Hoogly Cup boost the Indian Navy’s efforts to popularize the sport.
The 2015 version of the Navy Cup and Hooghly Cup was held on 19 December and I was lucky to be present at the Calcutta Turf Club (CTC) stand, courtesy an invitation from Commodore Ravi Alluwalia, Naval Officer in charge West Bengal.
Vice Admiral Satish Soni, the Flag Officer Commanding – in – Chief, Eastern Naval Command as the chief guest of the event.
It was a lavish arrangement at the Calcutta Turf Club (CTC) pavilion and food and drinks flowed freely.
Betting is an integral part of horse racing and it follows a complex rule of odds and even. Veterans consulted the race books to place their bets and even first timers were not far behind.
Apart from the Navy Cup amd INS Hooghly Cup there were five more races held on 19 Dec. 2015. The complete list of races is provided below:
- Chase the Sun Handicap
- Touch of Silver Plate
- INS Hooghly Cup
- Navy Cup
- The Calcutta Oaks
- RWITC Cup
- T N Banerjea Cup
Horse No. 6 Raw Silk with jockey B Mahesh was the winner of the INS Hooghly Cup. Horse No. 8 Murlough Bay with jockey A Ashhad Asbar was the winner of the Navy Cup.
Horse racing is no wonder a amazing spectacle and but it does have the other side too and sadly I was a witness to the tragic side off horse racing.
Out of the eleven horses in the Calcutta Oaks Race one horse finished the race without the jockey.
Jockey D K Ashish riding the horse Bold as Brass has fallen of his horse. He was rushed off to the hospital in an ambulance.
He suffered multiple head and neck injuries and succumbed to his injuries 34 hours later.
Really a sad end to a magnificent day of horse racing and this blog post is dedicated to the brave young jockey D K Ashish, may his soul rest in peace.
Special thanks to Commodore Ravi Alluwalia for the invitation to the Navy Cup and INS Hooghly Cup race.