Thursday, 3 April 2003  
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'Governor's Cup' to boost N'Eliya Holiday Season

by Richard Dwight

The Salubrious cold climes of hilly Nuwara Eliya, refreshingly with added zip, springs to life around this time of the year, to draw many from the heat, and the hustle and bustle that prevails in the south.

The month of April, has fast become to be associated with N'Eliya, spoken of as the New Year holiday season - and so much is being done to satisfy the needs of holiday makers from here and abroad, through social and cultural activities, entertainment in varied forms and the different competitions to be held in the field of sports.

The main attraction in the sporting arena in N'Eliya during the season will be the sport of kings 'Horse Racing'.

Commencing each day at 10.00 a.m. and going on to 2.00 p.m. there will be five to six horse races on the 6th, 10th, 14th, 19th and 26th of April on the N'Eliya Race Course. The most prestigious of them all will be the race for the 'Governor's Cup', a premier race amongst five others, to be held on the 14th April, which is being sponsored by Sri Lankan Airlines for fourth consecutive year.

Addressing the media at a briefing held at the Ceylon Continental Hotel on Tuesday, the Chairman, Board of Stewards Sri Lanka Turf Club (SLTC), Rajan Sellamuttu said that horse racing was a nobel sport that captured the hearts and minds of many people, but sadly declined in the sixties to be virtually extinct in the seventies.

It was however revived with the help of corporate giants and sponsors, through the efforts of Upali Wijewardene, Ajit Chitty Rajan Sellamuttu, Shehan Wijeratne and yet others.

Sellamuttu strongly felt that with sponsors like Sri Lankan Airlines the future of horse racing is assured and was confident that it could be restored to its former glory, where we speak of accredited stables, owners, trainers and jockeys etc in a far more organized and elaborate manner.

The favourites for this year's SriLankan Airlines Governor's Cup, will be 'Emperado' owned by Dr. M. S. Noohu, 'Stormy Warrior' - Gamini Kodituwakku's Libo Queen', Anura Abeyratne's 'Final Authority', 'Court of Appeal' and 'Pick Pocket'. Gamini Jayaratne's 'Mr. Belvedere' Nigel Austin's 'Ancient Warrior' and others like 'Khaalis,' 'Crowning Star', 'Savage' and 'Intel'. There are yet others who could spring a surprise or two like 'Helen of Troy', 'Fire Cracker', Simply Inspiring' and 'Korean Dancer'.

To ride these thoroughbreds, some of the jockeys of note are Indias Aslam Kader, Rahul Shinde of Monaro Stables, rides for Devinda Senanayake, while Vijaya Gharat rides for Dr. M. S. Noohu and Mumbai's S. Rajesh rides for Anurath Abeyratne. So these horses on 'Governor's Cup' day will move over from the paddock to be under starter's corders and one does not know which horse will be the first to break the line, or progressing together in a bunch for two or three to forge ahead to round the bend, onto the straight and into the homestretch to be the eventual winner - your guess will be good as mine.

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