Having been involved in horse racing for several decades I am deeply concerned with what is presently taking place in the sport.
About three-and-a-half years ago the Guyana Horse Racing Authority was resusitated. Mr Vic Ouditt was elected President. Things went well for some time. However, because of the attitude of certain members of the Authority he did not seek re-election at election time. Many things were achieved during his presidency. Had he continued as President he would have been able to achieve much more and horse racing would have seen further improvements.
Mr Khemraj Rai succeeded him as President and carried on for about six months. Unfortunately, certain differences arose between the members of the Authority. He resigned as he felt that he was not getting full support from some of the members. At the moment there is no functioning Horse Racing Authority. Most of the clubs seem to be doing their own thing. Race meetings are being fixed at random and most horse racing clubs are moving away from their traditional racing dates, thus causing confusion.
It has been the practice in the past to arrange race meetings in such a way as to give the animals enough time to rest before the next race meetings as there was a two-weeks gap between race meetings. This had worked very well.
For the month of July there are four race meetings fixed namely:
3rd July – Port Mourant Turf Club (non traditional date)
17th July – Ryan Crawford Memorial Turf Club (non traditional date)
24th July – Norman Singh Memorial Turf Club (non traditional date)
31st July Port Mourant Turf Club (traditional date)
For the month of August the race meetings fixed are as follows:-
14th – Kennard’s Memorial Turf Club (its traditional date)
21st – Port Mourant (Non traditional date)
28th – Rising Sun Turf Club (traditional date)
From the above it is clear that Kennard’s Memorial Turf Club and Rising Sun Turf Club would suffer because of the meeting on August 21. It is most unfair to these clubs which have fixed their race meetings on their traditional dates. There are seven race meetings fixed for the months of July and August. We do not have an adequate number of horses to take part at these meetings which will result in some of the race meetings being poorly supported by horses.
It is my firm view that Port Mourant Turf Club should not have race meetings in July as well as in August. The race meeting fixed for August 21 should be run off on July 31 which is the traditional date for Port Mourant. If this is not feasible then the meeting of August 21 should be run off on September 11 as that date is free. The other meeting for September is fixed for 25th (Ryan Crawford Memorial). There is a gap of two weeks.
What is of grave concern to me also is that we have individuals arranging race meetings when they are not the administrators of any race track. They do not have the burden of incurring expenses in maintaining the race track and facilities throughout the year, such as providing security power, water, etc, for the facility. I know of a club which incurs expenses in excess of $60,000 per month to provide those essentials.
We need to have the Guyana Horse Racing Authority up and going again so that the nonsense that is taking place presently stops. Because of too many race meetings sponsorship will dry up and some clubs may very well go broke.
Instead of the clubs fighting each other for race dates and competing with each other in prize monies, efforts should be made to improve the facilities for the comfort of the paying public.
A meeting of the Racing Authority ought to be arranged very soon in order to bring orderliness again. Who will arrange that meeting is the big question. If the meeting is arranged it can be assured that Kennard’s Memorial Turf Club will be represented and will assist in whatever way it can.
Finally, I must mention that as the race tracks are competing with each other, the end result would be that there is going to be animosity between the administrators of the various race clubs which is not good for the sport. No sponsor likes small fields at race meetings. They would like to get full mileage for the money they put into horse racing.
Come on gentlemen, let us stop the nonsense that is taking place. We must get together. I hope this is very soon.