During these difficult times The Royal Turf Club – Nuwara Eliya (RTC) are thinking of our racing community. We have been conducting horse racing on Nuwara Eliya racecourse commencing with the inaugural race meeting on 20thMarch, 2016, and your support over these past four years has been much appreciated.
Prior to their first race meeting the RTC in preparation to conduct racing in a professional manner committed to a large investment in purchasing equipment for an Equine Hospital and employing a resident Veterinarian, a saddling area and other developments, along with improvements to the historic main Grandstand and the other buildings. The buildings were painted, water leakages were addressed, toilets were revamped, the jockey’s room was completely guttered and modernized with a new ceiling, new showers and toilets, the Stewards Room was modernised. Gardens with colorful flowers were created where weeds use to flourish. The dirt road, which was muddy when after rain has been converted into a bitumen road.
Not only was the state of the buildings addressed, the track required attention with a new running rail, the surface needed top dressing with sand and fertilizer. A bund school was erected for the horses to do slow exercise. The track maintenance resulted in a superb racing surface over the initial five (5) days and this as continued with the track recently being praised by visiting riders. Maintenance has been ongoing. A new set of starting gates was purchased with rollers on the rear gate to protect the horses when being placed in the barriers.
The club has ensured that impartial, professional officials conduct racing. The club has employed an experience professional Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Stipendiary Stewards and Handicapper. Any person aggrieved by the Stewards decisions has the right of appeal to an independent Board of Appeal at a later date. Recently the RTC Committee appointed Mr. Suresh Kumar, a Nuwara Eliya local, as the Starter after he was trained by Mr. Jehangir Sayed from RWITC, India.
Over the years there has been much entertainment with fashion parades, bands, singers and other acts that go along with the April Racing Festival in Nuwara Eliya. Each race day saw a large attendance of locals and overseas visitors, which created a problem in finding accommodation in Nuwara Eliya. The club was fortunate to receive much assistance from the local motels that no doubt appreciated the influx of custom.
The RTC has had live broadcasts of the race days across Sri Lanka through the national television network Channel i and across the world on YouTube and Facebook which does promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. The club organized a meeting inviting the Owners and Breeders where Mr. Satish Iyer, the Manager of the Stud Book of India, guided the group on the process towards a Stud Book. We have been extremely fortunate to have had the expertise of Dr Hasneyn Mirza, a leading Veterinarian Surgeon from India, to guide us, also Mr Pesi Shroff, a former champion rider and now a Premier Trainer in India inspected the facilities and below is his valued comments such as from “The Daily News, May 19th, 2016"
“The Royal Turf Club and the Race Course in Nuwara Eliya certainly have a bright future.”
The Royal Turf Club-Nuwara Eliya has been given the honour of conducting this horse sport that has a history of 145 years in this country. I am sure our forefathers who raced horses in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh would be proud seeing that the current generation of Sri Lankans are preserving such marvellous entertainment for their fellow countrymen.
May “Horse Racing at the Highest Level” continue for generations to come.