(From left to right) Hostess Patricia Thompson; Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley; British Airways Captain Peter Brown; Sandy Lane General Manager, Randall Wilkie; Hostess, Jecoliah Small; District Manager, British Airways, ??Nigel Blackett; and staff of British Airways pose with the Gold Cup on its arrival in Barbados. (C. Pitt/BGIS)
The prestigious horse racing event – the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup – has added to this island’s economy, especially in the area of sports tourism.
This view was expressed by Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, minutes after the arrival of the Gold Cup last Friday on a British Airways flight from London.
Mr. Lashley said: "Since its inception, both the Barbados Turf Club and the Barbados Tourism Authority can attest to the increase in visitor arrivals, not only from the Caribbean, but also from as far afield as the United States of America… Horse racing always attracts large audiences compared to other activities; in fact, it closely rivals cricket and motor racing."
The Minister told his audience that Cabinet recently approved the National Sports Council’s Strategic Plan and disclosed that its vision is to move sports to an industry. "So, I hope that the Sandy Lane Gold Cup can be marketed even further, beyond the traditional markets," he stated.
He commended Sandy Lane, the Barbados Turf Club, especially the jockeys, and British Airways for their various roles in ensuring a successful event is staged. He continued: "The match between the Gold Cup and Sandy Lane is great because both exemplify quality and certainly the high standards that we have come to appreciate…
"The jockeys have added to the value of this particular event, even our young jockeys who continue to function in an exemplary manner. I believe that there is a future for them in this prestigious Cup and I would like to encourage all the persons involved to work even more closely with our young people and to point them in the direction of other avenues for their involvement in this illustrious activity."
This year’s race will be held on Saturday, March 2, at the Garrison Savannah. Sandy Lane has sponsored the race for 17 of its 32 years, donating over Bds $3 million in prize money.