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Vijay Mallya to sell all his horses and Kunigal farm

December 10, 2018 06:45 AM


Vijay Mallya to sell all his horses and Kunigal farm
Rumours are rife that Blazing Saddles, promoted by Saket Bahuguna of realty major Indiabulls, is jockeying to buy the heritage stud farm
| Ikram Khan

The King of Good times is reining it in, it seems. One of the leading owners in the horse racing industry, Vijay Mallya, has decided to quit the sport. The most sought-after owner who raced more than 100 bred-in-the-purple horses in all the premier racing centres apart from selling more than 50 horses produced from his Kunigal Stud Farm each year, has chosen to sell all the stock. A couple of months ago at the auction in Kunigal Stud farm, United Racing and Bloodstock Breeders Limited (URBBL) sold all the 55 horses. In addition, on a directive from the top owner, 70 horses including some of the classic hopefuls were sold at a King’s ransom and efforts are on to sell the remaining 30 in the months ahead.

It is learnt that Blazing Saddles (PF) represented by Niraj Tyagi and Vikas Sachdeva have bought most of the horses owned by the fugitive owner, apart from roping in the best at the Kunigal auction. Saketh Bahuguna, Chief Legal Officer, India Bulls who promotes Blazing Saddles is also keen on inking a deal to acquire the Kunigal Stud farm for their racing and breeding operations.

That Blazing Saddles is in the process of taking over the Kunigal Stud Farm is the news making the round in the racing circles. But URBB Managing Director Zeyn Mirza disclosed that the takeover is not possible taking into account that the Karnataka Government has given the farm on a 30-year lease period and in the next four years the lease of URBB will be terminated.

“At the moment we are only selling all the horses owned by Vijay Mallya in racing. Blazing Saddles, satisfied with the performances of our horses they bought earlier, have purchased a sizeable number and are also interested in picking up rest of our racing stock,” said Zeyn Mirza. The racing operations head also revealed that Saketh Bahuguna has made an offer only to buy the best produce from the farm and URBB is acceptable to providing Blazing Saddles the first pick at the farm.

The Kunigal Stud Farm has produced some of the best horses in the Indian racing circuit including Desert God which is the highest moneyspinner, winning stakes of more than eight crore. When posed with the question, why Vijay Mallya has chosen to quit the sport he dominated for more than four decades and sell all his shares in the farm, Zeyn said: “Kunigal Stud Farm is a losing proposition from the time he acquired the lease in 1992. The labour at the farm is very expensive. We pay double the wages to our employees when compared with the salaries offered at the other leading stud farms and that’s simply because that was one of the conditions from the government when offering the lease.”

When pointed out that not a single buyer was interested in Kunigal when the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) announced the auction of all Vijay Mallya shares in URBB, an official spokesman of the farm pointed out that the circular from the Income Tax department warning people that they would be liable if they chose to buy the auctioned shares and the fact that the farm was suffering loses each year, failed to generate interest among the buyers.

But it is no secret that Blazing Saddles are keen to ink a deal and have made a big offer. Saketh, it is the opinion of most in the racing and political circles, has the necessary clout to extend the lease after the four-year period and importantly the big man from India Bulls has the necessary funds to change the fortunes of the heritage farm where the great Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan successfully bred his horses for his cavalry.

Well now that Vijay Mallya has decided to call it quits and shut shop it will not be long before some principal buyers from the racing fraternity bid to acquire the rights for the racing operations at Kunigal

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