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Nuwara Eliya Racecourse – “Horse Racing at the Highest Level”




Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka is the only remaining horse racing venue in Sri Lanka. Situated 1,868 metres (6,129 ft) above sea level the racecourse is one of the highest in the world. Hence the Royal Turf Club has the motto “Horse Racing at the Highest Level”. The track has a circumference of 1,723 metres with a 333-metre straight. John Baker, the brother of Samuel Baker, is credited for introducing horse racing to Nuwara Eliya, when in the 1840s he created a training course for his imported English thoroughbreds on a hill close to his home. The inaugural race meeting at Nuwara Eliya was held in 1875 and was organised by the Nuwara Eliya Gymkhana Club. That is some 145 years ago, wow what a legacy the Royal Turf Club is entrusted to continue. In 1910, in a meeting presided over by the Governor of Ceylon, Sir Henry Edward McCallum, it was resolved that the Colombo based Ceylon Turf Club would be in a better position to manage the Nuwara Eliya course and the race meets, as it had greater financial clout, the ability to offer better prizes and was able to make improvements to the course and its buildings. In August 2011, the Sports Ministry took over the ownership of the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse from the Sri Lanka Turf Club, which has been conducting race meetings for several years. The racecourse is now managed by the Sugathadasa National Sports Complex Authority, with racing conducted by the Sri Lanka Turf Club until 2016 when the Royal Turf Club was formed and staged their inaugural race day on 20th March, 2016

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