BRIEF HISTORY OF COLE RACE CARD

Like a fine wine which matures and gets better with age, the 'Cole' Race Card enjoys the proud prestige of being the longest standing, most thorough, informative and reliable Race Card which is in existence today. Since it's inception way back in 1920, Cole has been the city's undisputed king of racing data, a bible for the thousands who seek quick fortunes at the Royal Western India Turf Club every season. In fact, the name has become synonymous with racing throughout India and most race goers will never be seen without their faithful blue and white publication in tow. As has been aptly quoted by one correspondent – " You can go to the race course without sporting a terry wool tuxedo, a strapless satin gown, an imported top hat, a mobile phone, Rayban sunglasses or even your cuddly Pomeranian, but you cannot possibly be seen without your favourite "Cole" race card in your hand." !!

How the booklet got its name remains a mystery. Even Vijay Adwalia, who publishes the booklet with his son Hemin Adwalia and prints editions for Mumbai ,Pune, Hyderabad, Mysore, Calcutta and Bangalore. In Greek the meaning of the name Cole is: "People's victory".In American the meaning of the name Cole is also " People's victory "and In English the meaning of the name Cole is: "Of a triumphant people "he said. The analogy isn't too far off the mark when you consider that Cole helps people make big bucks off a small bet.

EVOLUTION OF THE COLE RACE CARD

The printing of Private Race Cards in Western India dates as far back as to 1912 when Mr. Ali Mohammed Abdullah Munshi brought out ' Lakhpati' which was printed from Poona in the Commercial Printing Works owned by Mr. Manchharam Motee, his joint proprietor. This race card contained just the horses' names, their weights and tips. In Bombay, Lakhpati cards were printed from a one room tenement at Chimaji Butcher Street in Bhendi Bazaar.

In 1914, Manchharam Motee severed all his connections with Munshi and began his own new venture while Munshi continued to bring out 'Lakhpati' which held a premier position from 1912 to 1928, although towards the later years their circulation began to wane and the publication ceased to exist upon the death of Munshi in 1932.

In 1916, Mr. Motee launched his own publication called 'Motee' with the assistance of his 2 sons – the late Ranchhoddas Manchharam Printer and Laxman Manchharam Motee. However, in 1919, Ranchhoddas withdrew from 'Motee' and established his own press while Laxman shifted to Poona to set up his own printing works. Ranchhoddas' new publication under his own banner was named as 'Cole' and hence began the race card's 92 year sojourn to the present date. It's abode was at first at Lohar Chawl as Cole Printing Works and later shifted to the Kalbadevi Area. Ranchhoddas had to labour extremely hard before establishing this publication in 1921 with a new premise at Marine Lines. In 1927, his brothers-in-law Hargovandas and Vallabhdas joined him in the business and it was only in 1933 that the business began picking up in earnest. It was then shifted to its current premises at Tribhuvan Road and rechristened Turf Printing Works.

From this point, Ranchhoddas began to improve the quality of the Cole Race Card by adding feature after feature to help the racing patrons and outshine his competitors. Valuable notes and comments were provided by the late F.K. Vakil and track reports by Khodu Irani who subsequently became a renowned Trainer. Cole had a precarious existence for its first 25 years but during the war years it picked up good patronage and by 1944, its reputation had been enhanced. Racing Correspondents like V.R. Menon and Track Reporter Samuel Nathan managed the features from 1938.

Despite various differences in the family about how to run the business and manage the show, Cole survived against all odds and in 1955, Vallabhdas Adwalia took complete control of the press on a licence basis. It was also asked to take up printing the official race cards from 1956. From here on in the journey for the Cole race card was a bright one and it's popularity began to rise with every racing event. It has had the privilege of recording several prestigious racing events including the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in February 1961. It was initially printed in both Gujarati and English but the Gujarati version was discontinued in 1964.

Cole was under the joint proprietorship of Vallabhdas Adwalia's 2 sons after his death in 1975. However, in 1992, one of them Vijay Adwalia took total charge of it and has since seen it grow from strength to strength. In the year 2000, he was joined by his son Hemin Adwalia, making it the 4th generation of the family to be involved with the publication.

During the past 8 decades, the Cole Race Card has been the lone survivor among several private race cards that were in the fray. Among these were Red Jacket, Sports Bulletin and Pednekar Faizee (1921-25) Kaka Race Cards (1926-27) Daily Samachar Cards (1935 – 45) Sporting Times Racing Cards (1939-45) Diamond Race Cards (1945-46) Bombay Season Record Race Cards (1966-67) Nita (1967) Beandaz and more recent publications like Lucky Spinner, Money Spinner and BOL. However none of these publications have been able to pose as a worthwhile competitor to Cole which has become a trusted brand name over the past 90 years. The beauty of the publication is that it has maintained its identity and format right from the time of its inception. The basic format and structure of the publication have remained unchanged although several features have been added through the passage of time. The advent of the digital age and the inception of computers and machines have made the manual work slightly easier and given a more modern look to the publication although it is still an exhaustive progress from the beginning to the finished product.
 
     
 
   
   
     
 
 
     
   
     
     
 
 
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