Thwaites: Rebuild interest in horse racing before considering new facility

A drawing of a proposed modern facility for horse racing presented in April of 2018.
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By Neto Baptiste

Although welcoming the notion that horse racing should seek to develop or erect a modern facility outside of the nostalgic Cassada Gardens Race Track, horse owner, Dr Dwayne Thwaites, believes the sport needs to first return to a heightened period of activity and regain a strong following before this should be done.

In an interview with OBSERVER media, Thwaites said a new and up-to-date facility is the way to go, but that that is certainly not something that will happen soon.

“I think we do have a little bit of a problem with the Cassada Gardens Race Track at this point in time in terms of a legal standpoint, and I think in the long run; and I don’t think it’s going to be today or tomorrow, but I think we will probably have to move and do the things the president [Neil Cochrane] has mentioned but before we get to that stage – things like resurfacing, and a couple of little things are going to be the exciting and necessary things to propel us to further development,” he said.

President of the Antigua Turf Club, Neil Cochrane, has said in recent interviews that the body would seek permission from the government to approach potential investors through the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Dr Thwaites believes that the focus at this point should be the successful return of horse racing since the body has not held races in over a year.

“We need this period here of rebuilding, regrouping, getting it up and running so that we can move to the next phase of going somewhere else and establishing something better for racing. What we do now, as I mentioned before, is race for the fun of it, and we do bet a little bit in terms of person to person, but the major part of horse racing where it becomes a business is our next venture. It is not going to be tomorrow, but it is something we need to have in the back of our minds, that is what is going to propel racing in Antigua and get it better,” he said.

There have not been races at the Cassada Gardens Race Track since June last year when the turf club held the final leg of the Antigua Triple Crown Series, the Governor General’s Cup.

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