Hot race expected at the MTC Winter Cup

THE MTC Winter Cup at Okahatjipara Turf Club on the outskirts of Okondjatu this weekend is an event not to be missed, according to Marthinus de Waal, president of the Namibia Horse Racing Association.

Competition is likely to be fierce given the horses on offer and especially the proposed N$200,000 prize, organizers said.

“We expect over 5,000 spectators as Okahatjipara is a well-known track and one of the biggest race tracks in the country with a professional setup,” De Waal said.

“We will have 17 races for the day. It will be a very big event. The prize money will be split between the 17 races,” he added.

“The main race is worth N$30,000. This is huge for our association. That’s a lot of money. Whenever it’s an MTC sponsored event, our people get excited because they know you can win big. Horse owners do everything in their power to train their horses well. So for this particular event, it will be tough competition.

There will be new horses from South Africa on the circuit, while the invitation has been extended to Batswana parties who attend Namibian races.

“The people of Botswana have not confirmed yet, but we have spoken to them,” De Waal said.

Title sponsors MTC hailed the decentralization of sporting events, saying broadcasting competitions across the country makes the brotherhood dear to a wider audience.

“We would like to thank the management for having organized the race outside of Windhoek. We recently had boxing on the coast, last weekend it was amateur boxing in the north, and now the country is ready for Kahatjipara. I think for us [MTC] is a success because sport doesn’t have to be limited to Windhoek,” said Fikameni Mathias, Corporate Communications Specialist at MTC.

MTC said its primary involvement in horse racing was to help improve livelihoods while providing quality regular entertainment for revelers.

“Namibians are proven to love horse racing. At almost every event, crowds come out in numbers. But while Namibians love the sport, we would also like to see the professionalization of the sport. We want to start seeing participants in the sport reap the benefits,” said Mathias.

“We want to see life change for jockeys and race owners. At some point we have to start celebrating them more than they are today.

“It’s not just an MTC business. So if other companies can join us so that we can have horse racing at least twice a month, that will really help the industry grow,” he said.

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