By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua Turf Club (ATC), Neil Cochrane, has commended the country’s Canada-based horse owner and trainer, Lionel “Guy” Joseph, following his recent historic achievement of becoming the first Antiguan, and the first black trainer, to have horses compete in the Canadian Derby held September 12.
“I have to say that we are very proud of you and all that you have accomplished so far, but I know that the road [journey] has just begun because like you said, the goal is to get to the Kentucky Derby, and of course, that would be a significant feat. A lot of things have happened over the last two decades in horse racing that we really did not envision happening, such as a starting gate and so on, but it just shows that dedication and perseverance to make things happen and I think your story is certainly one of dedication,” he said.
Joseph had two thoroughbreds in Buck Wild and Papa Chulo compete in Canada’s premier horse racing event earlier this month. Buck Wild was his best finisher, ending the race in the seventh position while Papa Chulo finished 10th from amongst 11 competitors after being held back in the gates.
Cochrane went on to promise the international trainer that on his return to Antigua he will be able to operate in much improved conditions.
“The next time you get here you will be racing on an internationally accredited race track, so have no fear that that is going to happen shortly. We will just continue to support you, we will continue to do as much as we can personally, and also as an association. Big up to Kwame as well. I know that he has had some challenges in maintaining the weight to ride competitively, but I am sure he hasn’t given up competitively on that, and I see that he is integral to your team as well in exercising the horses,” he said. There has been no competitive racing in Antigua since 2019 owing to unfavourable conditions at the Cassada Gardens Race Track and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.