Nuwara Eliya Horse Races rained out for now

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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