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ATC President hopeful for upgrades to begin before end of year

by Carlena Knight

Upgrades to Antigua’s lone horse racing track could be seen at the end of the year, says President of the Antigua Turf Club Neil Cochrane.

Cochrane explains that, provided all goes to plan, much need renovations at the Cassada Gardens Race Track can begin.

“We are almost there with getting the first phase out. I was with Trevor Walker yesterday, myself and Dr Thwaites, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that the whole operation gets underway,” Cochrane said.

“We have a gentleman out of Jamaica who is working with us on the gaming side of things so we are not going to wait and wait and wait on whatever. We are trying to put things in place so we can start small and grow.

“So, before the year is out, we will definitely see significant improvements once we can get the sand from over Barbuda. That is our Achilles heel, being able to get that, because we do have to raise a good amount of funds to secure and ship the sand on the barge which is almost EC$100,000.”

His comments stem from a recent conversation where Cochrane revealed that the ATC had sought funding to redo the track but, unlike the success the YASCO Sports Complex received through funding from the National Olympic Committee (NOC), horse racing was not so lucky.

That same fate was meted out to the local body again as Cochrane explained that, due to Covid, the prospective investors who had shown interest in developing the facility backed out.

“The last set of investors that were supposed to come here, it happened just around when Covid hit here and that just seemed to have thrown the water where the investment is concerned. There are people who have shown just little interest but the last serious we would have had would have been March 2020. I believe they would have gotten a hit,” he said.

Nevertheless, Cochrane says the ATC will be moving forward.

“We can’t just sit around and rest and cry about what didn’t happen; we just have to keep on pushing forward to make things happen. We are going to make things happen and it is going to happen soon enough in phases.

“So, as the funding is not there to do everything at once, we will do the first phase which is the physical place where the horses run on and then go from there,” he added. 

Cochrane was speaking on the Good Morning JoJo sports show last Friday.

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