Recollection of the RCTC Days
Sir John Jardine Paterson
It was a great honour and pleasure to serve as a Steward of the Club with the late Maharajah of Burdwan, who was Senior Steward for so many years, and with such distinguished persons as Sir Biren Mookherjee, Gen. S. B. Roy and "Pops" Manasseh. The latter was particularly wise in the ways of racing and his knowledge was invaluable in co-operating with the Senior Stipendiary Steward, Howard Braham. Howard, it must be said, was always of the opinion that the professionals should run the racing and that the Stewards were only to confirm his decisions. This did give rise to many interesting discussions!
Our professionals at that time were an outstanding body and I recall, in particular, the part played by the Secretary, Bill Churchill, in connection with the introduction of starting stalls. These were still a novelty in racing and many thought that they would cause horses to break down from the strain imposed by a standing start. Bill's investigations were invaluable in helping to decide the type of stalls we should adopt, and he took over the duties of Starter so as to ensure that problems were understood and dealt with and in particular, that the team of handlers should be properly trained.
It was my privilege in 1964 to attend the 5th Asian Racing Conference in Manila and of the 116 delegates there, Bill Churchill and I were the only representatives of India. This was due to the difficulties imposed at that time by the Government of India in the provision of the necessary foreign exchange but it did mean that, as the only Steward there from India, I was elected as a Vice Chairman of the Conference as the next one was to be held in 1996 in India. I am glad to say that when it did convene in Calcutta, our Steward was available to be elected chairman!
I am delighted to be abale to recall these events on the occasion of the Club's 150th Anniversary, and have the opportunity of expressing my good wishes for the future of R.C.T.C.