Monday, April 15, 2024

Bajan, British Winter Jockeys’ Challenge


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The stakes have gone up even higher for the Breeders’ Classic Race Day.
Four of Barbados’ best jockeys will face off against their counterparts from Britain for a thrilling two-team, a four-race showdown at the inaugural Winters Jockeys’ Challenge on Saturday, November 16, at the Garrison Savannah.
The unique challenge event, billed as the “Barbados versus Great Britain and Ireland battle”, was launched yesterday at the Island Inn as part of the new Barbados Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s (BTBA) Breeders’ Classic Race Day, which features the Courtesy Breeders’ Classic and the Courtesy Juvenile Breeders’ Stakes.
“We’ve been seeing jockeys in Barbados reaching the pinnacle of racing in the world and what we really want to try to do is foster a whole better understanding of racing in Barbados,” explained president of the BTBA Peter Odle of the event.
“Over the last few years Barbadian jockeys have been playing a big role in racing around the world, particularly in Canada and to a lesser extent the United States, and it is one area I think that Barbados has a lot to offer in terms of sports tourism.
“[So] we’re trying to get more days where we can do things a slightly different way and attract the best of the best to come to this country,” he added.
It is the first of a three-year initiative sponsored by Courtesy Garage and Mango Bay which will see the two teams of four riders each competing in four races over varying distances from 1100 to over 1800 metres.
And those races will not include the two featured races, the Breeders’ Classic and the Breeders’ Stakes, which are separate and distinct from the challenge events – the Vuemont Jockeys’ Challenge, the Mango Bay Jockeys’ Challenge, the Hyundai Sante Fe Jockeys’ Challenge and the Barbados Tourism Authority London Jockeys’ Challenge.
Points are to be awarded for the first five horses to finish each of the challenge races and the team with the highest number of points after the events will be declared the winner. There will also be a trophy for the individual rider with the most points at the end of the challenge.
In the absence of the injured Rico Walcott, multi-champion rider Anderson Trotman is expected to lead the Bajan charge, which includes top jockeys Antonio Bishop, Damario Bynoe and Antonio Whitehall, who were all chosen based on this year’s jockey standings.
Forty-eight-year-old six-time British champion jockey Kieren Fallon will serve as Team UK’s captain, with fellow Brit Seb Sanders backing him up along with Irishmen Jimmy Fortune and Pat Smullen.
“This event goes beyond the Barbados Turf Club (BTC) and its racing product [as] this is an opportunity to showcase Barbados,” said BTC chief executive officer Rosette Peirce.

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