Kenya: Sercombe, Kibet Upbeat Ahead of Resumption of Ngong Racing Season

20 September 2020

After missing in action for several months due to coronavirus pandemic, jockeys Lesley Sercombe and Richard Kibet are happy that the racing season will soon resume.

The veterinary doctor and Kibet, have been training for the start of the Ngong racing season which begins on October 18.

The duo has been training since March when Covid-19 pandemic struck and paralysed most sectors of the economy.

Sercombe said, "When the virus struck, none of us knew what to expect, we stopped training for a month when things got worse. Finally racing stopped," said Sercombe.

She added: "We had to give the horses time to rest hoping that racing would start anytime, however, we had to do light exercises like counting on the gallop, walking and trotting with horses."

"Since horses need six weeks of training to get fit to compete, it has been very tough, physically and mentally," she told Nation during a training session at the Ngong Racecourse on September 18.

Sercombe said that just like athletes, horses need time to prepare for competition. They train for five days in a week.

"Horses can get naughty and unruly if they stay without exercise," she said.

During the pandemic, they had to work around the stables. The animals need to be fed, cleaned and subjected to exercises.

She said the horses are given high energy feeds which should be cut when the season starts. Sercombe, however said that the long rest occasioned by the pandemic gave horses with injuries, time to recover.

Sercombe and Kibet have been jogging for five kilometres daily and 30km per week at the Ngong Forest to keep fit and maintain 56kg weight.

Kibet said, "Staying at home and eating three meals a day without exercise can make one put on a lot of weight."

But this according to Kibet, this has made him stay close to the horses than to his family. He says training with Sercombe helped him to keep in shape during the pandemic.

They are happy with the government's directive about the resumption of non-contact sports like horse racing.

Sercombe is confident to use her 28 years' experience to defend her Jockey Champion Title in the new season. She, however, expects stiff opposition from James Muhindi and Kibet.

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