the gentleman's sport
"Horse racing, the gentleman's sport will be restored to its former
glory with the formation of the Royal Turf Club", promised Wayne Wood,
inaugural Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Stipendiary Stewards
of the RTC , addressing the packed media briefing, held to officially
launch the RTC .
Woods was vehement in his affirmation of the fact that the
manipulation of horse racing rules and misconduct on the race course,
where doping of horses and other unethical practices held sway, were now
a thing of the past!
Sinclair Marshall who takes up the position of Thoroughbred Riding
Instructor and Stipendiary Steward of the RTC, said he was delighted to
be in Sri Lanka and be part of the team responsible for establishing Sri
Lanka as a regional hub for horse racing. Marshall has ridden 8 Derby
winners, while he was Champion Jockey on several occasions in the
Bombay, Pune, Madras and Mysore Turf Clubs. Headed by equestrian
Suranjith Premadasa who is the President of the Royal Turf Club and
needs no introduction, the other office bearers of the Royal Turf Club [RTC]
are , Secretary Mrs Lucille Dahanayake and Treasurer Nishitha Rupasinghe
while the Committee comprises Ranjith Dahanayake, Nihara Jayatilleke and
Sudarshana Deshapriya .
Horse racing was first introduced to Sri Lanka in the 1840s by John
Baker, with the inaugural race taking place at the Nuwara Eliya Race
Course in 1875. In 1910, the then Governor of Ceylon, Sir Henry Edward
McCallum, inaugurated the prestigious Governor's Cup as well as the
Queen's Cup. During the early 1950's Ceylon horse racing was at it's
peak and in fact took pride of place in the entire region.
In 2000 the Ministry of Sports took over the ownership of the Nuwara
Eliya Race Course and thereafter, to date it has been managed by the
Sugathadasa National Sports Complex Authority, under the Ministry of
Sports.The Nuwara Eliya Race Course has a circumference of 1800 metres
and is situated at 1868 metres above sea level, in what has proven to be
one of the most scenic tracks in the entire region.
Ranjith Dahanayake – Committe Member RTC, Mrs Lucille
Dahanayake – Secretary RTC, Sinclair Marshall - Thoroughbred
Riding Instructor and Stipendiary Steward of the RTC , Wayne
Wood, inaugural Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of
Stipendiary Stewards RTC, Nishitha Rupasinghe – Treasurer
RTC , Panduka , Sudarshana Deshapriya – Committee Member RTC
It is the mandate of the RTC to restore the sport of horse racing to
its former traditions of gentlemanly conduct and establish it not merely
as a sporting activity in Sri Lanka, but to make the Nuwara Eliya Race
course the hub of regional horse racing activity , hence promoting
Sports Tourism.The RTC have made all the necessary arrangements to
establish horse racing as one of the country's premier sports, adhering
to international norms and standards.
RTC goes with the motto of 'Horse racing at the highest level' which
demonstrates the altitude and also has the meaning of the highest
integrity. The forthcoming 2016 season in Nuwara Eliya will see the
first race being held on March 20.
The Royal Turf Club have to date made a size-able investment to
develop the infrastructure, which includes renovating the track and
replacing the track railings, renovating the Grand Stand, Steward Room,
Jockey's Rooms, as well as all other Race Course buildings which were in
need of extensive repairs.
The RTC intends to continue with its program of development by
investing over the next two years, in partnership with foreign
investors, to make Sri Lanka and Nuwara Eliya a racing hub for the
The RTC, under the guidance of these two renowned names in the global
world of horse racing , will herald back the splendour that was once
horse racing in Sri Lanka , whilst adding to the longlist of tourist
attractions that Sri Lanka has to offer .