The return of the just ended Mascom Derby has elicited some mixed reaction from both fanatics as well as participants of the annual horse race regarding its experience and progression so far.
The derby returned over the Easter Holidays after it was shelved for the past two years owing to the covid-19 pandemic regulations that prohibited large gatherings. Generally, the event was arguably a great success, having pulled large crowds of enthusiasts who were excited about its return.
Botswana Horse Race Association Public Relations Officer, Otokile Moruakgomo said they were delighted to have been part of the derby because the race is one of the best in Botswana which also pays well.
According to Moruakgomo, this year’s derby had many local horses as compared to the previous one in 2019. The association had brought horses from different areas including Charles Hill, Kokotsha, Jwaneng, Motokwe and Takatokwane among others.
Moruakgomo expressed delight at the prize money, the organisation and the attendance which he appreciated helped in also marketing their horses.
“We come from different places, others come and want to buy our horses. We are very much happy about the event this time around,” Moruakgomo told the media on the sidelines of the event.
However, the PRO has said that as the association they want to engage with Mascom to iron out issues they feel are a hindrance to progression of the derby. He expressed confidence that there is room for improvement as far as the derby is concerned.
“If we can reduce tents inside the pitch and put them outside so that people can see the race from the start to end. These tents obstruct people from viewing the full race,” he highlighted.
He explained that there is need to monitor the performance of jockeys during the entire race, which is difficult because of tents inside the pitch which happen to obstruct their observation.
“We only see the horses from the starting point and when at the finishing point but if we could see them right-through the race that would be very important for us,” Moruakgomo pleaded.
This complain was echoed by many other attendees. “I was hoping to see a little improvement since this would have been that, “massive come back” as their theme suggested, but honestly to me, it was just another Mascom Derby event. It’s very understandable that there were too many people and cars to manage, but I feel they could have done better at the gate; it was a little frustrating. For the event of its magnitude, the horse track should be a priority, they need to really invest in the horse track. Beyond that I’m happy that the event is back, and hopefully it will be bigger and better in the coming year,” Anthony Molosi sharing his frustrations on this publication’s online platform.
For their part, the Namibian Horse Racing Association has called for an engagement with the Botswana Horse Racing Association in order to meet each other halfway regarding the improvement of the derby.
“Since we are not the experts in this, we can also learn from one another because we want to improve this sport for all,” Zuma Kavirombo of the association said.
He pleaded with the organizing association to send invitations directly to the Namibian association instead of individual horse owners. According to him most of the Namibian participants attended the derby as per their individual invites.
Kavirombo highlighted that sending invites directly to the association will help identify the best horses so that the country can be represented by the best.
The country brought 15 horses which gave the locals tight competition in most of the races.
The 2.4 metre thoroughbred grand race was won by Commander from Kokotsha whose jockey was Ketsile Sesipi who walked away with P5000, the second prize went to a Namibian horse with P4700 while Modiri Tameto of Takatokwane came third and pocketing P4600.