Sport

Horseracing: RTC takes Nuwara Eliya Racecourse to global index

5 May 2019 - 128   - 0

The Nuwara Eliya Racecourse, situated 6129 feet above sea level, is listed among the top 100 horseracing courses in the world, according to the latest edition of 'Remarkable Racecourses' by Tom Peacock. 

The latest development comes as a huge boost for Royal Turf Club (RTC), who had taken a great stride to upgrade Sri Lanka's only remaining horseracing course. 

The list of global racecourses is dominated by a good number of English courses, while Nuwara Eliya of Sri Lanka is the only racecourse to be listed among South Asian nations, next the closest other venue of Tibet, China. 

Explaining on the pattern of the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse, Peacock, the author of Remarkable Racecourses, states: "The tight, nine furlong circuit goes uphill on the back straight and the runners disappear from view, behind the trees and even buildings at one stage. As much as there is plenty of olde-worlde charm, with the lush, tree-covered hills in the background and race commentary in English, the old place was in a sorry state earlier this century". 

"Fortunately, the recent creation of a governing body, the Royal Turf Club, has seen major investments under its Australian Chief Executive Wayne Wood. This involved restoring and repairing the simple existing grandstand, renovating other facilities, planting shrubs, remeasuring the starting points and distances, and improving the worn track. It hopes to stimulate ownership and attendance strong among Sri Lankans and that racing will once again become an important tourist attraction," the explanation further states. 

To obtain global recognition, RTC has had done upgrades that are beyond imaginary. 

To get the system straightened, the RTC had to start from the very bottom of the line. 

It had to obtain support from the Ministry of Sports, the authorities of the City of Nuwara Eliya and other stakeholders to begin work from the scratch. 

As a result, in 2015, the RTC began its development project gradually. 

Under the watchful eyes of the higher authorities and the two experts -- Wayne Wood and Sinclair Marshall -- the RTC took things at a time to refurbish the grand stand, the racecourse, a sand course for training purpose, the bund school, the stables and even upgrade the facilities for horses and the workers of the course and stables. 

Eventually its efforts culminated by being listed among the remarkable racecourses of the world. 

"It's a great achievement for RTC, who takes great pride in lifting the standards of the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse and horseracing in Sri Lanka. The RTC has done a great deal of development projects since 2015 to the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya and by today, it's destination loved by all holiday makers, local and foreign. We will continue to maintain these standards at its utmost and make sure the Racecourse, Nuwara Eliya and Sri Lanka catch the global eye, through horseracing," Nishitha Rupasinghe, the proud Treasurer of RTC stated. 

The RTC has conducted high-scale horseracing events during the past four years while gaining global attention. 

So far, the RTC has managed to earn recognition from the horseracing authorities of India, South Korea and the latest, Japan. 

With the cancellation of the RTC Magic Million Cup 2019, set for April 21, due to Easter Sunday bombings, the latest news of the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya being listed among the global venues, comes as a silver lining in the dark cloud, at a time when sporting events are at a halt domestically.

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