Horse owners and jockeys once again become the focal point of the Easter sporting entertainment as the annual Mascom Derby takes centre stage in the tourist hub of Maun this weekend. About 130 horses have been confirmed for this year’s event with eleven race events set for the entire Saturday at the Shashe Horserace Track.
There will be four Tswana breed race events and seven thoroughbred. Whereas the main attraction of the day is always the 2400m event, there will be other races in the 800m, 1000m, 1200m, 1400m, 1600m and 1800m races . Going into its tenth year, the epic horseracing event this time promises more excitement for the participants who are sure to get better prizes after Stanbic Bank and the ministry of youth sport and culture joined forces to help add more glamour and opulence to it.
While it was not clear what Stanbic Bank’s role will be, BG Sport can reveal that the ministry of youth, sport and culture will fork out P180 000 which will be used as prize money for four of the eleven races on the day. The sports ministry’s money will sponsor prizes for two 800m races as well as for the 1000m and 1800m races. The main 2400m race and the rest will receive sponsorship from the event’s title sponsors Mascom.
On the sidelines, horserace patrons themselves will be treated to top class fashion, Maun cuisine and entertainment, as well as various prizes for those who will grace the event in the themed rustic look regalia. The newly introduced fashion show and live entertainment are mainly a part of the prelude festivities set for Friday. Over the last five years, the derby has attracted pilgrimages from all over the world with jockeys and racing horses coming from Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana as will be the case again this weekend.
Beaten only by the Toyota Kalahari 1000km Desert race in terms of popularity and patronage in Botswana, the Mascom Derby remains the biggest Easter Holidays sports spectacle, attracting over 10 000 people annually. This year, sports minister Thapelo Olopeng will be part of the festivities where he will also award prizes for the winners. This week, horse owners and their riders have been trickling into the tourist hub to condition their horses ahead of the meet. As part of their community outreach programme, Mascom will on Friday donate P50 000 to the Women Against Rape (WAR) centre in Maun.