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Mauritius Turf Club Hopes to Draw an Inspiration from Ram Shroff’s Night Racing Initiative in Mumbai

The sport of horse racing gained ground in Mauritius in the year 1812. The custodian of the sport in the country The Mauritius Turf Club is the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere and third oldest in the world. A historically significant course on the island country, the Mauritian independence was proclaimed there in 1968.

Chaiti Narula | CNN-News18

Updated:December 8, 2017, 1:18 PM IST
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New Delhi: The sport of horse racing gained ground in Mauritius in the year 1812. The custodian of the sport in the country The Mauritius Turf Club is the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere and third oldest in the world. A historically significant course on the island country, the Mauritian independence was proclaimed there in 1968.

A walk around the track and lawns of the enclosures will have one spot a statue of King Edward VII by sculptor Prosper d'Épinay, and the Malartic Tomb.

From 1812 to 2017, horse racing at the third oldest racecourse in the world has come a long way. The sport quite surprisingly is the soul and spirit of Port Louis, the Capital of Mauritius and its no surprise there that they may just foray into night racing soon.

Backed by ancestral vision and wisdom, The MTC has is now the sole custodian that runs the sport of kings on the island. This, after The Mauritius Jockey Club merged with MTC in late 1950’s.

The Mauritius jockey club was created early on in the last century and had its own racetrack at Mangalkhan, centrally located on the island. The property was donated by Rajcoomar Gujadhur and two friends of Indian Origin.

The Tuesday and Thursday morning spurts quite noticeably are an appetizer for the racegoers as are the draws in public marking the already exiting popularity of day racing in the city of Port Louis."The appetite for more clearly exists," said one of the stewards of the MTC.



The island country hence is no stranger to the way forward for the sport.

World over newer courses have managed to introduced evening races or simply put racing under floodlights once the sun goes down. One classic example being the evening races at Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai as an initiative of the RWITC put together by Ram Shroff.

“I think we can definitely pick cue from Mahalakshmi racecourse in Mumbai and come up with evening racing in Mauritius where the sport is more popular in the country than in India. If India could do it, Mauritius can do it too. I have a vision to have races under floodlights and being the oldest course in the Southern Hemisphere the time is not far away when we will adopt the same vision as India,” says Naresh Gujadhur from the first Indian family of horse racing in Mauritius who’s ancestor happens to be Rajcoomar Gujadhur.

“The existing infrastructures has to be upgraded, together with the need for evening racing. We are big into horse racing tourism here and night racing is the next big step we must take. It is not anyone’s sole decision but will be a collective effort of the MTC committee and all the members,” he adds.

For the past 3 years, the historically rich race club has witnessed evening activities, entertainment and this vision will just be an extension to the existing buzz that surrounds evenings on the turf.

“My first experience with evening racing was in Woodbine in Toronto in 1984. I was dining and watching the thoroughbreds go past the post through glass panel windows. I was inspired. South Africa seems to be working with the right equation. Hong Kong has the right formula and optimizing on all opportunities. And India has now got it right. It is only a matter of time that that inspiration is put to actual vision and eventually execution here where racing is not just a sport but the Champs de Mars racecourse itself which is a historically significant location,” he concludes.
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