ISB : Organization

Most of the early racing in India was carried out with imported horses — horses from England, Australia and Arabs. A fair amount of breeding was going on in India but most of it was for the needs of the Army and very little of it was of commercial interest. In fact, the Indigenous bred was called “the country-bred” and this was a derogatory term used for the horse born in India.

For the transformation of the “country-bred” into the “Indian Thoroughbred”, contribution of four great individuals was of utmost importance. First was that great patron of racing, Sir Victor Sassoon. His Eve Bloodstock Scheme, operated in conjunction with R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. gave an impetus to indigenous breeding of thoroughbreds. The second was Mr. K.M. Munshi, who was the Home Minister in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency. He prescribed that certain races should be reserved for Indian-bred horses so as to give a further boost to the Indian Breeding Industry. It was his initiative that went towards cementing the work started by Sir Victor Sasoon and the formation of the Indian Classic races. The third gentleman was Mr Fali Wadia, who with his close interaction with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru ensured that racing continued in India. The fourth person is Mr Rustomji Sopariwala, who was instrumental in importing Sheridan to Renala Stud, for years, the premiere stud in undivided India.

Although there was considerable Thoroughbred breeding activity in the North-West of the country, the Pune region did come 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, 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.

To meet its international responsibilities, R.W.I.T.C., Ltd. felt that the formation of an autonomous division was necessary, as such work should not be done by a mere Department of a Race Club. Also, international requirements mandate an arms length independence to a Stud Book Authority, which means that it should have its own hierarchy, ability to maintain accounts, take independent decisions and not be under the authority of the Stewards of a Turf Club.