RTC-Sri lankan Airlines Magic Million at Nuwara Eliya

The Royal Turf Club (RTC) was flying high as Sri Lanka celebrated its National New Year, when their biggest and most important race of the calendar year, the RTC-Sri Lankan Airlines Magic Million takes place at the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse.

The race is the highpoint not just because the Racecourse is located at a height of over 6000 feet, but because Sri Lankan Airlines has put its wings behind promoting the cause of Horse racing. The National Carrier has stepped in to sponsor the main race of the day, the RTC-Sri Lankan Magic Million, the piece de resistance of the season.

Sharing the limelight with the RTC-SriLankan Airlines Magic Million is the Thambiayah Memorial Million, to honour the memory of Shivantha Thambiayah, who was the Chairman and Managing Director of the Cargo Boat Dispatch Co. Ltd, one of the oldest shipping companies in the country, dating back to 1866. The race was sponsored by Dhiren Nirmalingam, in memory of his uncle the late Shivantha Thambiayah.

Dadigama Jewellers added glitter to what promises to be the richest day in the history of the RTC, as they too were one of the celebrity sponsors of the day. The fact that one of the largest and most distinguished companies in the jewelry business, had opted to look at Horse racing as a sport to associate itself with, strengthens the fact that Horse racing in Sri Lanka is receiving its due recognition.

Sporting Star and Sporting Times also made their presence felt on this third and auspicious Sunday of the month, by sponsoring two races that day. Both companies have a long and historical relationship with Horse racing. Adding to that, the entertainment and party atmosphere promises to make the day lovers of Horse races cannot afford to miss.

A total of six races had been framed for the day with two Million races was held — the RTC Magic Million sponsored by Sri Lankan Airlines and the Shivantha Thambiayah Million. Both the Millions were excited to witness, in the SriLankan Airlines Magic Million in-form horse Alcazaba faced a stiff challenge from Mehran who went a brilliant Mock Race on April 1 and Aventus who has been working well in the Morning Trials.

The Shivantha Thambiayah Memorial was a very open race with Roswald having the edge over others and Class 1 and 2 winner of April 1, Santos, might come close if he produces the same style of victory as he did last time. A total of 46 Runners will be taking part in the six races framed highest number of runners on one race day at RTC with a whopping stake of close to Rs. 2.5 million to be given out.

Amongst the visiting foreign jockeys are Indian Jockeys like Irvan Singh and A. Vishwanath but Frenchman Charles Perkins would be making his presence felt at Nuwara Eliya. Perkins comes with a good record of wins in France and Hong Kong circuits.

- The Sunday Times

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