It is not desirable to have two horse race meetings on the same day
Stabroek News
November 28, 2001

Dear Editor,

I have read with interest two letters which appeared in your newspaper quite recently, the first was on 21-11-2001 under the caption: "Has this new track been recognised by the horse racing authorities?. And the second appeared on 23-11-2001 under the caption: `Georgetown Turf Club intends to provide the best sport." [ please note: links provided by LOSP web site ]

As one who is connected to the Kennard's Memorial Turf Club, and one who has been involved in Horse Racing in this country for a long time, I wish to state for the benefit of the public that the Kennard's Memorial Turf Club is not privately owned as Mr Sims seems to suggest. It is in fact a members' club with an effective management committee and all profits made at the race meetings are ploughed back into racing, such as improvement of the facilities at the race track. I do not receive a black cent of the profits.

This club has been in existence since the 1930s (it was started by my late father and others) and has been consistently running off race meetings three times each year at Phagwah time, end of August and on the Christmas holidays particularly on Boxing Day. I am proud to state that no other club has ever run off a race meeting on Boxing Day.

The records will show that long before this year, the Kennard's Memorial Turf Club, has consistently run off its Boxing Day race meetings, for example; race meetings were held on 26th & 27th December, 1994; 26th December, 1995; 26th December, 1996; 26th & 27th December, 1997; 26th December, 1998; 26th & 27th December, 1999 and on the 24th & 26th December, 2000.

As has been for decades, the meeting last year was a very successful one.

At the commencement of this year the race clubs then in existence had submitted their racing dates and these were published. There was no clash of the fixtures. Of course, the Georgetown Turf Club was not then in existence and has never published its racing dates but has been fixing racing dates at random, which is not good for the improvement of horse racing.

Ever since the closure of D'Urban Park in the early 1970s it was Mr Marcel Crawford SC., Mr Inshanally Habibulah, and if I may blow my own trumpet, myself who have kept horse racing alive in this country. Persons who have attended race meetings at the Rising Sun Turf Club, Guyana Turf Club (formerly Port Mourant Race Club), the Alness Race Club and the Kennard's Memorial Turf Club can testify to the fact that the race meetings run off at these race tracks have been of a very high standard. None of these tracks has ever run off a `carts and horse' race.

Apart from the above mentioned clubs there is the Silver Park Turf Club on the West Berbice and save and except the Kennard's Memorial Turf Club, none of them has ever run off race meetings on Boxing Day. But what we are now confronted with is that the recently formed Georgetown Turf Club has fixed a race meeting for Boxing Day which will clash with that arranged by the Kennard's Memorial Turf Club.

If Mr Singh is genuinely interested in promoting horse racing he should rethink the idea of running off a race meeting on Boxing Day. He has publicly applauded the efforts of Mr Habibulah, Mr Crawford and myself and has gone to the extent of presenting plaques to us for our contributions to the improvement of horse racing here.

We have a limited number of horses and at the rate Mr Sims is going, sooner than later, we would hardly have any proper race horse in this country. He ought to be careful about his statement that he is the owner of the Georgetown Turf Club because as far as I am aware, the land is Guysuco's and is the subject of litigation in the courts between himself and Guysuco.

The fastest horse in this country is not owned by him but is in fact River Dance, which is owned by Mr Colin Elcock. This horse has won three of its last four races in top class company which includes Regal Prospect, Prospector's Pan, Slew Promise, Simply Royal and Shakira.

It was never the intention to confine horse racing to the country of Berbice as the former President of the Guyana Horse Racing Authority and others tried assiduously to have a race track established in Demerara.

Unfortunately, however, a greater portion of the land allocated for that purpose at Diamond was taken over for house lots so that the idea of a proper track there was no longer feasible.

On a few occasions I have tried to speak to Mr Sims to avoid a clash of the two race meetings but he has been avoiding me. I would like public to know where the fault lies.

We will run off our race meetings on Boxing Day. My friend Michael, please be reminded that thoroughbreds do not cry but merely fade away.

Yours faithfully,

Cecil Kennard