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By Neto Baptiste

Sitting president of the Antigua Turf Club (ATC) Neil Cochrane said he has no intentions of seeking re-election when the body hosts elections this year.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show recently, Cochrane, who is seeking to become the next Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party candidate for the All Saints East & St Luke Constituency, revealed that the turf club’s electoral congress should have happened in 2020 but gave assurances that every effort is being made to have the vote at the earliest possible date.

“I would say it was my fault why the process has not gone forward but we are looking to try and correct that and make it happen pretty soon. I am not really seeing a whole lot of people jumping and running towards here. We are not the ones who get funding; we are not the ones that have an international body; we’re not that ones that have trips; and we’re not the ones that really have all the perks. So not a lot of people are running and jumping in,” he said.

“I have no intentions of seeking re-election but I certainly have intentions of doing my best to steering the racing fraternity in the right direction and to provide as must support as I can,” he added. 

The horse racing fraternity has struggled over that 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.

Cochrane said that although the layoff has resulted in significant losses to horse owners and others involved in the industry, it has given the body time to make significant improvements to the facility.

“We have decided, for the most part, to use the time that this Covid has brought to us to try and improve as much as possible, the facility. We have written in for permission to race, which would have happened since last August or September, and we have not [yet] received that permission to race. So, in the meantime, it is pretty difficult to be maintaining 32 acres of land and having to pay to have that done without revenues coming in,” he said.

The turf club is awaiting the approval of its protocols as it pushes for a return to racing at the Cassada Gardens facility.