“As the French would put it, ‘Partir c’est mourir un peu’…

That’s precisely the feeling my family and the bigger family of the stable experienced”

Interview: Ramapatee Gujadhur

* ‘The role of government is to ensure that fairness and a level playing field prevail with a view to encouraging fair competition. How can we compete if our wings are clipped?’

After 118 years, the Gujadhur stable which has represented so much for our countrymen and the racing community, announced that sadly it could no longer operate within the new parameters imposed by the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) and the authorities. In these troubling moments, Ramapatee Gujadhur has been asked to share some thoughts about this turn of events, the ongoing tussles of the Mauritius Turf Club (MTC) with the GRA and the playing field which seems so heavily loaded towards one newcomer. He has done so in his usual gentlemanly fashion leaving the population to form their own opinion on the course of events that have led to this sad closure.

* You must have left the Champ de Mars with a heavy heart last Sunday, but this cannot be the end of a family’s 118-year-old association with horse racing and the Mauritius Turf Club. Observant onlookers would like to think that that’s not the end of the story; other twists and turns are likely to come. Are they wrong?

Indeed, it was a tough decision for us. As the French would put it, ‘’Partir c’est mourir un peu’’. That’s precisely the feeling I and other members of the family and the bigger family of the stable experienced. But we have to know when the time has come to draw the ladder and, believe me, we had no other option.

On the other hand, I tend to agree with you that this may not be the end of the story. However, it’s very difficult to tell about the future, so we’ll let things run their own course. In the meantime, it’s a fact today that the Gujadhur stable has closed its doors.

* You have been saying repeatedly during the last few days that the conditions for the proper functioning of a horse stable are not present anymore, thus your decision to exit from the horse racing industry. Is that the only reason?

It’s not the only reason although it may appear to be the main one. As things stand today, it’s not viable anymore to run a stable – at least for us.

The MTC, as per the new rules, could organise only 20 race meetings. They have had to cut costs and remove subsidies that they were giving to stables. They also had to reduce the stakes money substantially. Under these circumstances it had become impossible to sustain the financial burden.

* Those in the know suggest that there is more to the ongoing and long-drawn tug of war between the MTC, the traditional horse-racing organiser, and the GRA than meets the eye. There would be an underhand ploy being employed to make the MTC irrelevant in the horse racing business. Is it also your view?

There is wisdom in letting the facts speak for themselves, and in allowing your readers and Mauritians in general to draw their own conclusions.

However, it goes without saying that the decision to allow a second operator to organise horse racing at the Champ de Mars has impacted negatively the finances of the MTC.

* From what we hear, there also seems to be a villain in the story behind the current situation the MTC finds itself today, whom few people have named but who can be easily guessed. If that is indeed the case and in view of the damage said to have already been done to horse racing, do you fear that sooner or later the industry will be taken over by a single player?

I cannot predict what will happen in the future though I would have loved to be able to do so. But the crude fact is that MTC’s future is at stake as its lease of the grounds was abruptly terminated, a matter which the courts have yet to pronounce themselves on, but in the current situation it will be practically impossible for it to sustain the financial burden which the second licence to organise horse racing will entail. Read More… Become a Subscriber


Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 16 December 2022

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