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Dr. Narendra Dabholkar

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Prabhakar Nanawaty

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Superstition, You Bet

 Superstitions are an inherent part of any sport, with racing being no exception. But many in this fraternity might feel that all that is required for a horse to win is good pedigree, conformation and preparation, besides the crucial component of ability.

But in horse racing, many owners, punters and others believe they need to do more. For some, it is to sit at the same place, or wear the same dress they had worn when their horses first tasted success.

India’s biggest race horse owner, MAM Ramaswamy insists on wearing the tie he has worn for the last 30 years whenever his horses run in classic races. Ramaswamy’s tally of classic wins is a staggering 500-plus.

Last year, Jacqueline set a new record by winning four Indian classics in a row. Two of the part owners, Berjis Minoo Desai and Deepa Dhunjibhoy, wore the same dress on all four occasions and also sat at the same place when the race was run.

Vivek Jain, chairman of the Royal Western Indian Turf Club, does not believe in superstition, but feels that his horse stands fewer chances when its serial number is 8 or drawn in 8. “When my horse is drawn 8 or its serial number is 8, I feel that he/she stands less chance of winning. Apart from this I have nothing,” says Jain.

“No, I don’t believe in that. The only thing that is on my mind when my horse is there is his/her previous outing,” Vijay Shirke toldDNA. For a non-believer, some of the practices may appear bizarre, but then this is what drives most race-goers.

But, it more among the punters, has won consistently during a day, he would look at what transpired during the day and try to duplicate the same process the next day. It is seen often that punters change places for each race to improve their ‘vaastu’. Still others hold on to the same seat if his/her choice wins

“I see that I occupy the same place when my choice horse is winning. If it does not, I keep changing my seat for better luck,” says Ronny Perreira, one of the punters on the race course.

There are those too, who keep on changing seats whenever their choice horse wins. “If I have placed a bet on the first floor and win, I will come down for the next bet,” says Suresh Gaikwad, another punter.

There are other options, such as keeping the ticket in the wallet or in the racing books. Many punters believe that sharing information may bring them bad luck and are rarely honest about their intentions on race day

Indian race-goers don’t count their profits before the end of day’s racing, nor do they announce when they make money, which is rare. Another superstition is to avoid meeting a particular person who they think brings bad luck, or shaking hands, lest their good luck is passed on.

Courtesy: DNA dated Jan 29, 2012

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