Called 'The Sport of Kings', horse racing has commanded the fascination and respect of generations of Puneites since the city's first horse race in 1819. In 1830 - The Pune Race Course was built on the current site in the Cantonment near the Empress Garden. The rest, as they say, is history.
According to official sources, the stakes offered at the Pune Turf Club are the highest available anywhere in the country. The available facilities were upgraded a few years ago to match this enviable and highly lucrative status.
Yes, horse racing in Pune is beyond doubt a high-profile enterprise. High-stake players from all over the country throng the city for a piece of the action, notably from major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. As with any regular influx of big spenders, this affects the local real estate market significantly.
BIG BUCKS ON THE RENTAL SCENE
It is possible that, in the initial British Raj years of horse racing in Pune, the then available residential facilities were quite sufficient. Even today, the Old Wellington Soldiers Club house offers 21 double and single rooms that are supplemented by excellent recreational facilities. However, this was bound to fall short as the racing craze became more firmly entrenched.
The residential requirements for a racing season in Pune today are considerable. After all, it is not the equivalent of a one-day cricket match, and in fact extends over more than a month. To the huge number of horse racing enthusiasts from beyond Pune, it makes more sense to have reliable living arrangements for this period. This fact translates into an annual upsurge in rental requirements in Pune and is one of the reasons why investment in a flat makes such good sense in the city. However, it is the ownership property segment that sees most of the business each year thanks to the horse racing mania.
OUTRIGHT OWNERSHIP FOR TOTAL DEDICATION
Many outstation racing enthusiasts prefer to maintain outright ownership residential properties throughout the year just for this vital period. In both the cases of rental and ownership, the racing season in Pune translates into considerable revenue on the property market. This becomes even more remarkable when we recall that we are talking about a limited period of just 33 days - 23 Clubs race days and 10 Special Race days. Obviously, the Pune property is significantly oriented towards this annual event.
Many racing enthusiasts get their first good look at Pune for the first time during this period, and this leads to new purchase inquiries every year. In other words, Pune's real estate market experiences a sort of annual mini-boom solely because of the horse racing phenomenon. One must keep in mind that this is a recurrent phenomenon.
Kishor Pate is CMD - Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. & Hon. Secretary, CREDAI (Maharashtra)