The dark horse in the field waiting on the reserve list to be the next racing jurisdiction is Sri Lanka. Wait. This is not totally accurate as there already is what passes to be horse racing at the Royal Turf Club in Nuwara Eliya in the upcountry region of one of the most beautiful places on God’s green earth.

Nuwara Eliya horse races – SUNDAY OBSERVER

Huh? ROYAL Turf Club in what’s no longer a British colony?

It’s hardly world class racing, but what might be interesting to factor in the amount of investment, especially from Mainland China that no doubt sees the island as a strategic base to keep tabs on India, pouring in.

Meanwhile, with its inexpensive property attracting more from Hong Kong than many think investing in Sri Lanka as a viable option for retirement- and entrepreneurial pursuits like horse racing and a tourist destination based on creating a “New Dubai” could augur well for the island.

The one stumbling block- the same one that has always kept the island from being far more than it is- is a shaky political “platform” and corruption. Then again, what makes this any different from anywhere else in the world?

What’s interesting is that when under British rule and known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka had the only horse racing in Asia with two racecourses, one in Colombo and the other being the existing course n Nuwara Eliya.

Its history included being home to Australian journeyman rider Ted Fordyce aka “The Railwayman”, someone whose backstory started with his days riding in India before marrying a Singhalese girl and settling down in Sri Lanka.

Don’t expect Nuwara Eliya to be another Shatin or Flemington or Longchamps as a Racecourse with world class equine talent, but it would be foolish to dismiss Sri Lanka as an also ran. Its raw potential points to being something far more than this.

All those billionaires from around the region who once visited the island for their annual Elephant Polo Tournament until PETA Asia exposed the brutality involved in the “fun sport” know different.

There might not be anymore Elephant Polo, but those businessmen and their associates have been steadily investing in a future on the island that could yield big returns for a small investment.

Of course as with anything else, for there to be progress, there must be people with vision and a local government able to understand this. Again, one could say the same thing about every country where Third World has levelled out into one world.

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