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High profile

Horse racing event to boost Barbados profile further

Barbados’ reputation as a horseracing destination just keeps getting bigger.

And with the second edition of this weekend’s Barbados Winter Jockeys’ Challenge set to be the biggest to date, Director USA of the Barbados Tourism Management Inc (BTMI), Petra Roach believes the event has the potential to raise the island’s horseracing profile further.

She told Barbados Today not only was the event able to attract six of Europe’s top jockeys –– an increase from the four who attended the 2013 Challenge ––  but it was also able to obtain the services of Lafranco “Frankie” Dettori, who is regarded as one of the world’s best riders.

 Frankie Dettori celebrates his win recently aboard Hootenanny in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes.

Frankie Dettori celebrates his win recently aboard Hootenanny in the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes.

Only recently, Dettori was among the winners at the prestigious multi-million dollar Breeders Cup Series staged at Santa Anita Park, just outside Los Angeles, California.

The 43-year-old, known the world over for his trademark flying dismount, has also won the acclaimed Epson Derby in the United Kingdom.

Kieren Fallon, a six-time British champion and a three-time winner of the Epsom Derby, is also expected to saddle up for the event.

Petra Roach

Petra Roach

“Dettori, I mean he has been British champion and is one of the top jockeys in the world and Kieren Fallon has won over 2000 race meets in the UK, and is a six-time British champion too. I think what’s really fantastic is that we are talking about household names that are coming to be a part of this event,” Roach noted.

“For us to get that level of competitor out of Barbados within this niche, says that Barbados has credibility and it gives us the opportunity to talk to the British media about horseracing in a way that we haven’t been able to do before.”

She also explained the event, which is being staged through the collaborative efforts of the Barbados Turf Club, the BTMI and Mango Bay Hotel, had the propensity to attract horseracing fans from not only the UK and Europe, but the Caribbean also.

Roach said that was especially good news since those fans tended to be big spenders.

In referring to last year’s Challenge as a major success, event organizer Jeff Laughton revealed this has led to the event being booked for the next two years.

He said the competition would be extended across the Caribbean, with the jockeys slated to leave for Trinidad next week to compete in a similar event.

“We are bringing across probably the six best jockeys in Europe . . . they are all champions in their own right.

“Trinidad will also be doing an event. We are trying to do it around the Caribbean, but obviously we are hoping that Barbados becomes the home of the event,” Laughton told Barbados Today.

Peter Odle, Chairman of Mango Bay Hotel, said it was especially pleasing to be associated with such a high-calibre event.

“We are very pleased to be a partner in this particular event. We gave our commitment last year we would certainly do it for three years and this is our second year.

“We see this as an opportunity to bring more and more people into Barbados and we are fully committed,” he maintained.

Dettori and Fallon will be joined by Tom Queally, Jamie Spencer, James “Jimmy” Fortune and Seb Sanders for the event scheduled for the historic Garrison Savannah.

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