Number of initiatives taken
By Samuel Whyte
The Guyana Horse Racing Authority (GHRA) recently held its first meeting for the year 2015. The meeting was staged at the Rising Sun Turf Club, Arima Park West Coast Berbice and was chaired by President Vic Ouditt.
There were a lot of positives that came out of the meeting which saw the attendance of all of the clubs in Guyana along with other interested persons. This is despite the negative publicity that the sport has been enacting over the years. The meeting was described as a success according to those in attendance with the members seeking unity and oneness in pushing the sport forward.
The President however stressed that there was still lot of work to be done in a number of areas to bring the sport back in line to what it was before and with other countries.
Areas of doping and betting he pointed out are top on the radar. Doping, he stated was still widespread and the sport had lost quite a few good thoroughbreds to this scourge. He said that he hopes with the coming legislation; Guyana would be able to move forward in thoroughbred racing, joining the wider Caribbean.
With the loss of Digicel as a major sponsor in horseracing, Mr. Ouditt expressed confidence that the Company would be back on board soon. He is confident that the GHRA and its racing partners would be able to offer the communications giant great value for its advertising dollars in their continued support of horseracing.
Ouditt pointed to the many positives and achievements of the GHRA in horseracing for 2014 as indicators of progress in moving the sport forward.
Among the positives were:- The visit of Mr. David Loregnard, Secretary of the Trinidad & Tobago Racing Authority, who was at the Guyana Cup race meeting held on August 24 at Port Mourant Turf Club. Another improvement he stated is that horse owners in Guyana would be assisted in buying horses directly from Jamaica, instead of waiting until they are imported to Trinidad & Tobago. Race Clubs are now allowed to seek necessary approvals and permits from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) without getting the approval of the GHRA.
During the meeting it was agreed that some changes needs to be made to the way things are done in Guyana. One such agreement is that race clubs will set their own respective dates, only notifying GHRA of their intended race date. In the event two Clubs submit the same date, consideration will be given to the Club with the traditional date, moving away from the previous arrangement where the GHRA and the clubs would sit at a meeting at the start of the year and decide on dates for the clubs.
A proposal was made to enact a Ratings System, similar to what is used in Trinidad & Tobago.
It was agreed that the current classification system being employed in Guyana, does not accurately integrate horses coming from the United States classification system. The new ratings system will be worked out in conjunction with representatives of horse owners and trainers. The system, once approved, will appear alongside the current classification system on race programmes over a period of time. It is believed that this eases in the period whereby race fans will familiarize themselves with the new system.
Those present also agreed that an Interim Management Committee (IMC) will be put in place until the much talked about Horse Racing Legislation is passed to form the legal sanctioning body.
GHRA also recognized the renovations and upgrades being made to facilities of the Rising Sun Turf Club (RSTC), and commended track Principal, Fazal Habibulla on his continued investment in the sport.
President Ouditt and the rest of the gathering also recognized the formation of a new promotion group called the 4 Horsemen. The group outlined their vision for Horse Racing in Guyana which they aim to project with their debut Race Meeting dubbed the ‘Clash of the Titans’ at Port Mourant Turf Club on Sunday May 22nd.
Oudit expressed his pleasure with the unity exercised by the horse owners in coming up with the new promotion group and its inclusiveness of all available animals.
Also discussed, was the issue with Jockeys’ dues, and the fact that it should be paid in to the respective clubs on race day which should be forwarded to an Insurance Fund.
The biggest bug bear however is the sloth in government not passing the necessary legislation in propelling the sport. However, according to Oudit, despite the current situation with Parliament the GHRA is still optimistic that the necessary legislation will be enacted in 2015. It was confirmed by Oudit that the Minister of Sport is yet to convene with the stakeholders and the racing fraternity.
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