Female jockey N. Rupa will join the races for the first time in Sri Lankan history at the Royal Turf Club’s races on 11 December.
“This goes to prove that the RTC shows no discrimination and even a member of the fairer sex can race alongside her more stalwart colleagues,” said RTC Acting CEO and Stipendiary Steward/Jockey Coach Sinclair Marshall.
That’s not all; up and coming racing commentator and voice of the Royal Calcutta Turf Club Anit Casyab will be making his first appearance at RTC as well on 11 December and will keep the crowds abreast of all information on the races.
The RTC has also confirmed that the Edwards will be donating all the earnings of the 11 December Race Day to the Cancer Care Trust and Dr. Samadhi, Trustee, will be present at the races to accept their donation. Furthermore, Deepthika Jayaykody will also donate 50% of her winnings to the Nuwara Eliya Ponies’ Association, which is a boon to the poor people of Nuwara Eliya who live by hiring out their ponies.
The RTC will also be granting a scholarship for a Jockey Training Program under the supervision of RTC Coach Marshall who has trained many successful apprentice jockeys in India.
Children have not been forgotten as the RTC is planning to give a surprise to all children present that day when Santa Claus makes a guest appearance, giving away gifts to the lucky children present by way of chocolates and goodies.
A total of Rs. 1 million for Best Hat, Best Dressed Lady, Best Couple and Best Dressed Gentleman will also be given away, promising to make 11 December a memorable race day!
The Scoring for Best Jockey, Best Trainer, Best Groom and Best Stable will commence with this race, with the award ceremony being held on the last race day in April.
“With the weather gods not favouring the RTC during the month of November, the RTC has lost a race day because horses were unable to exercise in the mornings. However, the weather has held up for the past two weeks and all looks good for the upcoming 11 December races,” said Marshall.
Horse owners who will race their thoroughbreds on this day include Charini Suriyage, D. Guruge, Gamini Jayaratne, Chamari Jayaratne, Hasanga Jayaratne, James Mathew, Irugal Bandara, Anura Delgoda, the Edwards, Deepthika Jayakody, the Prithiv Dorais and Anuka Soza.
So it will be a whole gamut of experiences up in Nuwara Eliya; mistletoe and holly, thrills and spills on the race track, fun for the kids, a scintillating fashion show by Deepthika Jayakody who will unveil her maiden collection and yes, the mighty clash of the Titans when the champions Roswald and Charlemagne meet on the track at the Class 1 Race, promising a race that is guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seat! In fact this is the first time since April this year that an 1800 meters Class 1 long distance race is being run. The class 2 Race will also be an exciting one as it will be a Super Mile Race!
As always music and entertainment will be superlative, with the Royal Turf Club having lined up something for everyone. Music by Corrine Almeida who will enthral the crowds with her musical prowess in all three languages, entertainment for kids and all the fun associated with clean racing is on the cards. Festive décor and music, including traditional Christmas Carols will make 11 December a truly memorable Race Day. The program will be closed with the RTC offering a free buffet Christmas lunch for 300 persons including all RTC staff and family members, as well as the poor and needy of Nuwara Eliya.
As RTC continues its zero tolerance policy towards drug abuse, they will be ably supported again by SLADA who will be on the course as usual to observe and carry out tests for steroids and other performance enhancement drugs.
“December is always such a special month. It ushers in the festive season celebrated all over the world and it’s the month to eat, drink and be merry. In keeping with this spirit, the Royal Turf Nuwara Eliya promises you one real rocking or rather galloping party,” said RTC President Suranjith Premadasa.
The Royal Turf Club’s commitment to the sport of horse racing has been exemplary. They have managed to uphold the fact that horse racing is about sport and this is what has attracted people from all walks of life to the Race Course in Nuwara Eliya.
Next year’s races will commence in February, continuing into March and April.