Namibia: Horse Racing Set for Rehoboth

Horse racing returns this weekend with the MTC Winter Cup set to take place at Rehoboth.

The event, which is being sponsored by MTC to an amount of N$250 000, will be the second horse racing tournament sponsored by MTC in recent times, following on an event in Okahandja last November.

Fikameni Mathias of MTC, however said the conditions had changed due to Covid regulations.

"In November last year we had our first horse racing event at Okahandja and it was a beautiful experience. There were lots of highlights with a big crowd too, but unfortunately with the Covid regulations things have now changed. Fortunately horse racing is not a contact sport - that was made clear by the Namibia Sport Commission."

The president of the Namibia Horse Racing Association, Martinus de Waal said they will enforce the regulations strictly.

"Due to Covid restrictions only 50 people are allowed to attend the event, so there won't be any spectators, only the horse owners, the media and MTC officials. We will be very strict and enforce this, because we don't want to hamper our sponsorship from MTC, which means a lot to us," he said.

"A veterinary clinic will be present as well as tight security, while we also asked the Namibian police and NDF to assist us," he added.

According to De Waal there will be lots of prizes and trophies for the long distance races, as well as medals for the jockeys, while the prize money will amount to N$175 000, with the rest going towards administration costs.

"The highest amount paid will be N$10 000 per race, with the prize money breakdown for the top four horses being 50, 30, 20 and 10 percent. There will be two categories for thoroughbred horses and non-breed horses, and a total of 19 races, starting at 10h00," he said.

Last year's event drew some poor publicity with some of the horses suffering in the heat, but De Waal said they had improved the conditions for this year's event.

"We learnt a lot from last year's experience and we also consulted MTC to treat the horses better. Now we have put up extra shade nets and water points, so the conditions will be much better for the horses," he said.

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