A day at the races with the RTC Nuwara Eliya

Feb 21 2024.

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The Royal Turf Club, Nuwara Eliya has embarked on an ambitious programme to uphold the tradition of horse racing in Nuwara Eliya.  Since the inception of horse racing in Sri Lanka, The Royal Turf Club, Nuwara Eliya has been a flag bearer of the sport. This year the RTC will begin its first race on 24th February 2024 when they will hold the RTC Sports Tourism Race Day.

Providing details of the event, RTC Nuwara Eliya treasurer Nisitha Rupasinghe said  “The RTC Sports Tourism Day was conceptualized to increase tourism in Nuwara Eliya along with upholding the tradition of horse racing. The RTC  since 2016 has maintained the Nuwara Eliya racecourse and looked after all matters relating to it, as we like to think the race course in Nuwara Eliya is a site of national heritage. On the 24th of February, we have scheduled four races for the day. The main race will be the RTC Sports Tourism Day race followed by the Stables and Hill Rise Trophy, The Sunday Times Trophy and the Yes 101 Trophy".

Pictured: Nisitha Rupasinghe

“This is the first race of the season of 2024 and we are looking forward to conducting the races in front of a capacity audience. Racegoers can look forward to a convivial atmosphere. For those who have never been to the races in Nuwara Eliya, this is an ideal opportunity to come to the RTC event and see what horse racing is all about. “ he added

“This year we are expecting a larger number of tourists which will greatly benefit the hospitality industry in Nuwara Eliya. We also invite stakeholders in the industry to join forces with the RTC to make this event a success as it is for the benefit of the sport, and the people of Nuwara Eliya and also promotes a positive image of the country. Our market research indicates that many tourists from the South Asian region are keen to come as the cooler climes coupled with the beautiful scenery of Nuwara Eliya and the excitement of the races are an attractive proposition.” concluded Nisitha. 

The CEO and Secretary of the RTC Nuwara Eliya Royata Hakariya is an ardent supporter of horse racing. Commenting on how horseracing has evolved over the years Hakariya said “Horse racing has a long history which traces its origins to Europe. Today, there are so many countries which enjoy horse racing. In my home country of Japan, horseracing is conducted at the highest level and therefore has become the biggest revenue income in the world. Due to this the jockey and trainer must pass a certain exam which helps to ensure a high standard and maintains technology beneficial to the horse, trainer, and the jockey. “

Pictured: Royata Hakariya

Hakariya is also a strong believer that horse racing in Nuwara Eliya must be preserved as the area is filled with an abundance of beauty, and salubrious weather which combined makes it conducive for racing and ideal conditions for the horses.

Addressing the elephant in the room, which is the perceived cruelty to racehorses Hakariya opined “There were strict rules in place to monitor the jockey's interaction with the horses during the races and at other times. At the races we do not allow room for cruelty because the owners adore their horses and would not allow them to endure suffering of any sort” he added.  

“We urge the general public to support the age-old sport of horse racing and invite those interested to come and be a part of the horse races. Visitors will enjoy the thrill and spectacle of seeing the beautiful horses running. Moreover, there are other activities for the racegoers to enjoy in addition to the races” concluded Hakariya.


Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the Deputy Editor for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno [email protected]



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