Letters & Opinion

Eyes of the world on Saint Lucia

HORSE racing burst into life at the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club Friday as the island nation became the newest member of the international racing family. Under sapphire skies a “who’s who” from the worlds of business and sport descended on Saint Lucia to bear witness to the unique occasion.

Captains of industry and leaders of the international thoroughbred industry joined US Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith, champion Saint Lucian cricketer Daren Sammy, the Honourable Allen Chastanet (Prime Minister of Saint Lucia), His Excellency Sir Neville Cenac (Governor General of Saint Lucia), WinStar Farm’s Kenny and Lisa Troutt, The Honourable John Warren (Bloodstock Advisor to Her Majesty The Queen and Chairman of China Horse Club’s International Advisory Council), Professor Dr Joseph Deiss (former President of Switzerland and China Horse Club International Advisory Council Member), Mr Juan-Carlos Capelli (China Horse Club International Advisory Council Member) and Mr Andrew Chesser (US Jockey Club and International Federation of Horseracing Authorities).

The luminaries were witness to a spectacular afternoon of horse racing that culminated in a scorching win in the USD150,000 DSH Caribbean Star Ltd Pitons Cup (1800m) by Casting Crowns. The mare was also travelling well under the care of Australian based Chinese jockey Qin Yong and made its winning move early in the straight when sliding up the fence passed eventual runner-up Colonel’s Pride before racing away. For the winning connections of famed US breeding, racing and consigning operation Taylor Made Farm and winning trainer Deon Visser, it was an irrepressible result.

“We have won the Dubai World Cup and this was amazing. This is our little Dubai World Cup,” said winning owner Frank Taylor.

“The people here are the friendliest in the world. Today has been an amazing experience and we will definitely be back.

“This place [The Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club] is going to be a great success and we want to be a part of it. We will be going back home [to the United States] and telling people they need to be involved here.”

The creation of a new industry in such a traditional sport is unheard of. What made today’s occasion even more notable is that the commencement of the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club marked the launching of the first stage of the nation building project, the Pearl of the Caribbean.

Valued at more than USD3 billion, the Pearl of the Caribbean promised to be a transformative force not only for Saint Lucia but for the wider Caribbean. An integrated development spanning 1,000 acres across three strategically located sites, The Pearl of the Caribbean has among its jewels one of the most picturesque racecourses around.

“The words of His Excellency Sir Neville Cenac [Governor General of Saint Lucia] were very appropriate in explaining the significance of today. National Day is always a celebration and today is the first day in a transformational journey for this country and its people,” said Teo Ah Khing, Chairman of DSH Caribbean Star Limited.

“We are honoured by the support the Saint Lucian people are giving this project and horse racing. Today the track couldn’t have held any more people. We have also been overwhelmed by the support of the international business community and international racing community who descended on Saint Lucia to play a role in an historic occasion.”

Prime Minister Chastanet was unwavering in his belief in the positive impact horse racing and the Pearl of the Caribbean will have in his country.

“The smiles of peoples faces the experiences people are having today says so much. Saint Lucians have been wanting something like this new industry of horse racing and now they have it,” said Prime Minister Chastanet.

“The facility here is world class. Saint Lucia is now positioned to be part of the international racing fraternity and a leader in the region. We need to continue working now to build upon the goodwill and success of today and also work with our peers around the region to grow this sport and to create more opportunities for Saint Lucians.”

Support for The Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club’s maiden race day came from a collection of international partners and sponsors including DSH Caribbean Star Limited, the Government of Saint Lucia, UK Tote, Keeneland, Coolmore, IRT, Inglis, Magic Millions, OBS Sales, Digicel, Bluewater Sales, Muirfield Insurance, Goffs, Fasig Tipton, Arqana and Crystal Clear Water.

2019 CECF The Pitons Cup Race Result

Race 1: Coolmore Helen of the West Indies Stakes Reef Cup Owner: Fasig-tipton sales/Bluewater sales Trainer: Robbie Hewetson Jockey: James Chau

Race 2: Keeneland National Day Sprint Turvey Act Owner: Money box Modular Housing Trainer: Deon Visser Jockey: Chen Li

Race 3: UK Tote Group, Winston Trim Memorial Trophy, Senor Guitar, Owner: Event Star Trainer: Deon Visser Jockey: Qin Yong

Race 4: DSH Caribbean Star, The Pitons Cup, Casting Crowns, Owner: Taylor Made Farm Trainer: Deon Visser Jockey: Qin Yong

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