By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua Turf Club (ATC), Neil Cochrane, has defended the body’s acquisition and use of the lands encompassing the Cassada Gardens Race Track amidst criticism that the body has failed to properly develop the facility.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Cochrane said the turf club has just as much rights to government land as any other association, recounting the recent court battle over rights to the property with local businessman, Carlton Lewis.
“This land was given to us since 1964 by the government of Antigua and Barbuda and that’s why we had to fight Carlton Lewis in court for our rights and we won that case. We won two cases, an injunctive relief and a fixed claim and we’ve won them both and so basically now, it’s our facility and he’s now challenging that,” he said.
In 2018, the turf club won a court battle against Lewis who has also claimed to hold a lease for the property. However, Lewis has since appealed the judgment.
Cochrane said he is not opposed to working in unison with Lewis but that any agreement between the two parties must be beneficial to the sport.
“Ultimately, the executive of the Antigua Turf Club will make whatever decision that we want as it relates to him but if he has something positive and valuable to bring to horse racing then I am sure we would be willing to consider but it has to be on terms that we consider to be favourable to us,” he said.
There has been no racing at the Cassada Gardens Race Track in over a year due to a combination of issues at the track.