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Saluting the foresight of Poonawallas

Imagine going to the races for the first time and returning with a car in tow ! This strange but true experience has been had by a few casual visitors and first timers at two centres, Mumbai and Pune. And the occasion has been the Poonawalla Million which inevitably has a bumper prize. Poonawalla Multi Million, one of the leading events of the Pune racing season.

The race was instituted by the RWITC in 1982 in honour of late Soli A. Poonawalla for his life long contribution to Indian racing and breeding. It was first run as a S A Poonawalla Trophy. In 1990 the race got upgraded to Grade 2 and was named as the Poonawalla Cup. Subsequently in the year 1996 when the Poonawalla Group sponsored the race, it acquired the name "The S. A. Poonawalla Million". The race has now been upgraded to Multi Million race and named as "S. A. Poonawalla Multi Million".

Interestingly, the bumper prize the car has more often been won by those who have been either casual visitors or first timer at the race course. Hence, beginner's luck is hugely prevalent for the car as also for many other attractive prizes.

Every time the race happens I wonder at the farsightedness of the people involved. Not only the two Poonwallas, Dr Cyrus and Zavary, but the other breeders who pooled in for the concept of other Poonawalla Spectacular, the Breeders Million Race which is held in Mumbai every year. I remember in the first year of this race in Mumbai my friend Malcolm Chattelier's wife won the Maruti car. She told her husband to back rider Aslam Kader who she liked and Kader piloted the winner! Beginner's luck there.

Coming back to the Pune race, its importance can be gauged from the fact that some of the winners of this race have gone on to clinch good classic victories. This year a strong field of around 12 to 14 cartier copy ring diamonds top of the line three year olds are likely to compete for the huge cash prize of over Rs One Million and a trophy worth Rs. 30,000 given by the RWITC.

The Poonawalla Breeders' Million was evolved sometime in late eighties when members of the National Horse Breeding Society of India got together under the aegis of the Council Members of the National Horse Breeding Society (NHBS) of India to find ways and means to provide a love ring copy boost cartier mens copy ring diamond to breeding and horse racing, as this sport, though considered to be a king of sports, was not being patronised in the manner it was being patronised in the other racing centers around the world.

After several deliberations and meetings it was decided by the NHBS of India to institute a race to be run on the lines of the Magic Million and The Cartier Million as run in Australia and Ireland respectively. The immediate outcome of this decision was to find some one who could conduct this event as also to generate a million rupees. And who could they be but the Poonawalla Brothers, Dr Cyrus and Mr Zavaray Poonawalla.

Having had a tremendous response in the very first year, Dr Cyrus Mr Zavaray, both ardent lovers of horses, and Mrs Behroze Zavaray Poonawalla, with a flair for fashion, beauty, charm and style, set their sights on making the event a household name. With Mrs. Behroze Poonawalla personal attention to details and to new additions, the race saw introduction of awards to the best dressed ladies and gentlemen and for the best hat on the Million Day. With all these attractions, the race today has not only acquired brand equity of its own but is also now termed as a Multi Million Race.

Pradeep Vijayakar is assistant editor at The Times of India. He played cricket (alongside Sunil Gavaskar and Ashok Mankad at college), table tennis and squash, and loved to swim. He is a qualified squash and cricket coach. A 40 year veteran of journalism, he covered five cricket World Cups since 1979, world level billiards, snooker, squash and other events like bridge, kabaddi and martial arts. He had done commentary for Doordarshan and All India Radio, written several cricket tour books and wrote India's first cricket play 'Shapoorjee Sokajee' in 2008. He taught at replica Cartier Love ring yellow gold UPG and KC College Institutes of Journalism and was course director for Communication and Writing at the Times School of Media Studies, Mumbai. He worked for Hi Young People's Newspaer, Free Press Journal, Sportsweek and, since 1974, The Times of India.

Editor's note: Pradeep Vijaykar breathed his last on January 1, 2011, after a prolonged battle with cancer. His passion for sports and writing remains unmatched. Undeterred by his frail health, he kept this blog running. His newspaper, which was like a second home to him, will miss him.

Pradeep Vijayakar is assistant editor at The Times of India. He played cricket (alongside Sunil Gavaskar and Ashok Mankad at college), table tennis and squash, and loved to swim. He is a qualified squash and cricket coach. A 40 year veteran of journalism, he covered five cricket World Cups since 1979, world level billiards, snooker, squash and other events like bridge, kabaddi and martial arts. He had done commentary for Doordarshan and All India Radio, written several cricket tour books and wrote India's first cricket play 'Shapoorjee Sokajee' in 2008. He taught at UPG and KC College Institutes of Journalism and was course director for Communication and Writing at the Times School of Media Studies, Mumbai. He worked for Hi Young People's Newspaer, Free Press Journal, Sportsweek and, since 1974, The Times of India.

Editor's note: Pradeep Vijaykar breathed his last on January 1, 2011, after a prolonged battle with cancer. His passion for sports and writing remains unmatched. Undeterred by his frail health, he kept this blog running. His newspaper, which was like a second home to him, will miss him.
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