Nuwara Eliya Horse Races rained out for now
The prevailing inclement weather in the country has affected Horse Racing in a big way, as the Royal Turf Club (RTC) was forced to abandon one of its Racedays scheduled end 2017.
According to RTC President Panduka Keerthinanda, the weather in Nuwara Eliya has not improved at all during the past two months and the Racecourse was under water, making it impossible to host any events in the foreseeable future. The RTC had to abandon the Race event scheduled for Nov.4, due to wet conditions, and are keeping their fingers crossed for the next event planned for Dec.2.
"It all depends on an improvement in the weather conditions. It's a known fact that trainers need at least 2-3 weeks to prepare their horses for the Race events. And good weather should remain for at least 3 weeks, before thinking of moving forward with the last Race event for 2017, scheduled for Dec.2. It all depends on the weather now," Keerthinanda stated.
The RTC has failed to conduct a single Race event since April, and events planned for August, September and October had to be called off for similar reasons. The RTC even had discussions with a delegation of Thoroughbred Horse Owners (THO), who had raised concerns on the absence of Horse Race events since April 2017.
Both RTC and THO officials concluded that the drought of events was mainly due to unsupportive weather conditions, that has largely affected the Race track at the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse. The meeting concluded with positive notes, after THO members showed their willingness to come forward and assist the RTC in conducting the 2 races by forming a joint committee. However, their formation too, was thwarted by the rainy weather, which prevented the Race event on Nov.2.
"We are still confident we can conclude 2017 with a successful Race day. All of us at RTC, as well as the trainers, owners, jockeys and other stakeholders are eagerly looking forward to conduct the Dec.2 races. Hopefully, the present weather condition should ease. We are keeping a close eye for improvement, with hopes of a positive outcome," Keerthinanda added.
Incidentally, if the Dec.2 Race event proceeds as planned, it will be the final race the RTC hosts, as their agreement on the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse with the Sugathadasa National Sports Complex Authority (SNSCA) expires end 2017. The SNSCA stated that, from 2018, it will call for tenders, where agreements will be signed for a period of 6 months only. However, contradictory clauses in their tender notice has temporarily halted the bidding procedure, following the intervention of the Minister of Sports.
The latest updates from Nuwara Eliya is that the rainy weather pattern prevails, and is expected to continue. Despite the weather turning against them, the RTC, Horse owners and Trainers are gearing up to hold a grand event in December.
It rained in April too - File pic