Race Course in Pune


Horse riding is doubtless the most universal enjoyed of all racing sports and is popularly known as "Sport Of Kings". In some sections it has fallen into disrepute on account of that demoralization that come from the betting ring. On occasions, owners of the horses manipulate to have "fixed" or made up races in the sense they decide before hand what horse should win; and whenever this is known to the public or it comes to there knowledge that the contest , in that particular race , was not between the horses but in the betting ring, they loose interest.

History and records are very silent on the point as to when , what year , and how racing took its life in Pune. But it is evident that racing did find its place in this city before the year 1870 the old Race Course being located at the banks of the river Mutha, which is now popularly known as Boat Club Road. In the year 1870 it was shifted to its present location, when the Western India Turf Club came into picture. The present racecourse land was given to the Turf Club by Major General Burnett in that year.

A useful amenity was added to the Race course in the year 1922 in the shape of Club House, when the Club purchased the old Wellingdon Soldier's Club, adjoining the Race course and renovated it to suit the comforts of the members who either attended the races or spent their week ends in Pune during the season. This old Wellingdon Soldiers Club was established in the year 1918 when its foundation stone was laid by his Excellency the Governor Lord Welllingdon was a lover of sports transferred this building to the Turf Club. The Club House is under the management of a committee known as Club House Committee. This Club House beside Providing excellent housing accommodation comprising of 21 rooms, 11 double and 10 single also provides for recreational games such as Billiards. It also has a card room and a ball room.

The Club House is only open during the Poona Monsoon Season.

Reliable and authentic information reveal that the land of the Race Course was Inam lands called " Kazi Watan Emolument," granted to the Kazi of Poona by the Muslim Kings for his services to the community and was known as Kazi Patti. These lands were confirmed as Inam lands by the British in the year 1860 when an Inam Commission was appointed which examined the titles and Sanads of all such Inams. It appears that a later stage in 1862 the heirs of the original Kazi whose name was Kazi Mohomed Abbas, alienated these under a kararnama in favour of one Vadoo Sait of Messrs. Ludha Ibrahim & Co. of Bombay and Poona. Such alienation was not permissible under the terms of either the Inam Sanad or the "Faisalnama" ( decision ), of the Inam Commission. Government therefore resumed these lands from the Kazis, including them within the Cantonment limits and in the year 1870 Major General Burnett handed the same to the Western India Turf Club. No agreement whatsoever of any nature appears to have been entered into between the Military Authorities, or Government and the Club, but records show that in the year 1907, to be precise, on 16th February 1907 a lease was executed between the secretary of State for India in Council and Lt. Col. George Henry Bull, M.D., I. M. S. and honourable Mr. Louis Pitman Russel, judge of Bombay High Court, as Trustees of the Club was to pay Rs. 20,000/- to the Army Authorities to be sent by the General Officer Commanding the 6th. Division ( Poona ) for laying out recreation and Polo Ground for the use of Garrison at Poona and to pay an annual ground rent of Rs. 1,200/- through the Cantonment Authority. The total area assigned under this lease was 118.5 acres