No date set for Turf Club elections

Neil Cochrane
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By Carlena Knight

A definitive date has not yet been set for the long overdue the Antigua Turf Club (ATC) elections.

According to the ATC President Neil Cochrane, the date has not yet been decided and will not be until specific repairs are done at the Cassada Gardens Race Track. There has been ongoing work at the track as the turf club seeks to improve both the track surface and the general surroundings of the facility.

“As soon as we can complete this laying then we can make it happen,” Cochrane said.

“I have made my position clear already that there will be somebody else at the helm to charter the course.”

Scarce resources continue to stymie efforts by the Antigua Turf Club (ATC) to upgrade the Cassada Garden’s Race Track as they are still trying to raise close to EC $80,000 in an effort to import sand from the sister isle of Barbuda.

Earlier this year, the turf club revealed that it had purchased a new harrow — a machine used to loosen the soil on the track — and also new rails, but there has been little to no movement at the facility, however, as they await sand from Barbuda that will be used to resurface the track.

Cochrane also spoke on the possible return of the sport.

He says although they have submitted their protocols to the relevant government officials, they have received no word since.

He is however confident that with the downward swing of covid cases and the gradual return to normalcy, racing will return to Cassada Gardens.

“We have never received any official word from them, so I have asked Dr Thwaites who is close to the medical practitioners there to follow up on that and try and see if we can press forward in making it happen so for me in particular to see racing allowed in Barbuda gives me hope and seeing the place being opened as well with the first fete, bars being open and cricket given the opportunity to go, I think we are closer to opening and to normalcy and with normalcy racing can happen and elections can happen,” he added.

The horse racing fraternity has struggled over a year and a half to host regular events at the Cassada Garden’s Race Track owing to a number of issues with the latest being the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A number of Antiguan horses will however have their first opportunity in months to get some competitive races under their belts when they compete in the sister isle next weekend.

Six horses — four thoroughbreds and two half-breds — are scheduled to compete in Barbuda on July 18.

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