Stud Book Authority of India

Almost all the early racing in India was based on imported horses, either Arabs or horses from England and Australia. By the 1930’s, a fair amount of breeding was going on in India but most of it was for the needs of the Army and very little was of commercial interest. Inevitably there was an element of thoroughbred blood present due to these activities and indigenous-bred horses filtered into racing. One of the earliest breeders recorded was Mr.Rustomji Soparivala who later founded the Manjri Stud. All these horses were called "country-breds" - a term which was rather derogatory.

For the transformation of the "country-bred" into the "Indian Thoroughbred", the names of four individuals remain imperishable in Indian breeding history. They are:

Mr.K.M.Munshi, Home Minister in the pre-Independence Congress administration of Bombay Presidency – who insisted on the reservation of certain races under RWITC Rules for Indian bred horses, leading to the inception of the Indian Classics. This was a cardinal contribution.

Sir Victor Sassoon, lifelong ardent patron of racing in England and India, who formulated the Eve Bloodstock Scheme - operated in conjunction with the RWITC. This scheme was of signal importance in giving impetus to Indian breeders.

Maj.Dennis Vanrenen, who founded the Renala Stud, for many years the pre-eminent stud in undivided India, where stood the important sire Sheridan. In his obituary in 1938, the Bloodstock Breeders Review notes: He was noted for his fierce advocacy and his energetic work in endeavouring to develop a “pure Indian bred” horse. He set out after the war (WWI) to evolve what he termed “a new and true Indian horse” based on imported thoroughbred blood…… at the time of his death, his efforts were obtaining far fuller recognition.

Mr.Faly Wadia, who spearheaded the efforts of the breeding industry for the survival of racing in the six difficult years after Independence, when racing was under the axe due to political decisions, and the nascent Indian breeding industry was brought to its knees. His presentation of the case to the Prime Minister, Mr.Jewaharlal Nehru, was finally instrumental in the Govts. of Bombay & Madras reversing their stand in 1953, so that racing survived.

Although there was considerable Thoroughbred breeding activity in North India, the Pune region also then came up as an area of sizeable Thoroughbred concentration. This and the fact that Sir Victor Sassoon’s Eve Bloodstock Scheme was linked with R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. meant that the task of keeping the Indian Stud Book fell on R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. At that time, in the 1930s, there were only two turf authoritities in India — R.C.T.C. and R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. Correspondence took place on the subject and R.C.T.C. declined to have anything to do with maintaining the stud book records. It was thus that R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. became the Keepers of the Indian Stud Book and duly published its first Volume in 1942. Ever since then, R.W.I.T.C., Ltd., which hold the copyright of the book,  has been recognised internationally as the Keepers of the Indian Stud Book and this recognition was lent further weight when in 1980 R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. received the invitation to join the International Stud Book Committee.

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