Guyana to introduce licensing for horsemen

Horsemen are soon to be licensed

A newly formed Racing Committee is bringing a new vision for the local horse racing industry and a new mantra: “Guyana First”.

At an emergency meeting held at the Corentyne, Berbice residence of Therbhuwan Jagdeo on Sunday, February 19, it was agreed among those who now form the Racing Committee that the sport of horse-racing would be revolutionised in keeping with the changes now evolving at home, and in keep with international best practice.

The new Racing Committee comprises Fazal Habibulla, Nasrudeen Mohamed, Therbhuwan Jagdeo, Dennis Deoroop and Stuart Gonsalves. At that Sunday meeting, which was convened by Nasrudeen Mohamed, a number of changes were earmarked for promotion and conduct of the sport.

Quizzed on the appointment of this body, a spokesperson for the Committee declared, “This is not a Government-appointed body; this body comprises of the leading promoters, track owners, and some of the bigger investors in the sport. We are committed towards the welfare of the animals and the sport, and with Racing Regulations on the front burner, this is the appropriate time to get horsemen prepared. This is all we are doing.”

“May I reiterate, we are not Government-appointed,” he said. “Sunday’s meeting was discussed since last year, and we finally got the opportunity to come together to advise horsemen of what to expect when horse-racing regulations are approved by Government.”

Regulation of horse-racing will start with the approval of future race days by this new committee. It was discussed and agreed that racing promoters would now be required to request their racing days in advance. This new programme will start from April 1, 2023.

For example, during the period April-June 2023, promoters will send their request to the committee in regard to which days they would want to host the sport during the three-month period. This programme will continue along the same course for the reminder of the season.

This measure has been taken to prevent duplication of racing dates among promoters. This new programme is being done in the best interest of the sport, it has been advised.

The body has also agreed that since horsemen are the lifeline of the sport, changes have to be implemented to improve their livelihood and that of the sport. Following on the heels of the new vision will be outreach programmes starting very shortly to keep owners, trainers, breeders and jockeys informed of, and guided by, the changes.

It was also discussed and agreed that all horsemen would have to be licensed. However, horsemen will be given ample notice when this system would come on stream. An apprentice jockey scheme to licence the young riders (apprentices) would also be implemented.

The licensing of apprentice riders would be undertaken by an oversight committee. The body will comprise of an accomplished jockey along with experienced horsemen who would monitor the apprentices’ progress.

Before being granted the licence, an apprentice would have to undergo a starting gates test which would determine if he or she is ready to compete at this competitive level. His/her permit to ride would also be based on riding skills and conduct displayed. Riders once licensed would also be informed that urine sample tests would be randomly conducted for prohibited substance on race days.

Classification of horses, a situation which has been a festering ‘sore’ in the eyes of horsemen, was also discussed, and it was agreed that a review of the system will be undertaken by way of consultation.

And in related horse-racing news, ‘Uncle’ Fazal had four young horses join his barn on Monday. They are two yearlings and two juveniles (two-year-olds). All four horses are fashionably bred. The two yearlings are sired by T&T-bred Gold Cup winner Headline News, while the two-year-olds are sired by USA-bred Nominee, who finished second in the Barbados Gold several years ago.

Two of the horses are half-sisters to Sail Ahoy, which was bought last year by Mohamed.