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Colin Mello hopes to soon get green light for harness racing

Driving Horse and Pony Club president Colin Mello (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

Colin Mello, the Driving Horse and Pony Club president, remains hopeful harness racing can finally resume at Vesey Street in the not too distant future.

The sport has remained dormant since it was suspended last December after a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases on the island led to a government shutdown of sporting activities.

But with active cases plummeting and Ernest Peets, the sports minister, recently declaring that domestic sport can resume, Mello and his fellow committee members are anxiously awaiting the green light for racing at the National Equestrian Centre.

“As soon as we have permission we will be able to move forward,” Mello told The Royal Gazette. “We are hoping maybe mid-November, but it all hinges on approval from Government.”

After much consideration on a number of key factors, the association decided best to end the 2020-21 season early in February.

“The season was cut off last year after six race days and we were never able to restart when we wanted to try in March,” Mello added.

“Unfortunately, given the restrictions in place, the DHPC committee had to make the decision that it was not viable to resume our race season as we had hoped.”

Mello said the club’s members have gone to great lengths in the interim to cope with the situation in the absence of competition.

“Since December our members and owners have put in considerable effort keeping the ponies in race-ready condition,” he added. “Everyone is doing the best we all can in the circumstances.

“It’s a very expensive sport that takes a lot of time and dedication to train and care for the animals.

“The committee are very grateful to our members who are still putting in the work in hopes of being able to return to racing soon.”

Among the highlights of the abbreviated season was Candyce Martins, who blazed to a Bermuda-bred record and lifetime best of 1:02/2 with eight-year-old mare Double Time.

Mello’s committee has remained intact from the previous season, while there are also encouraging signs of new drivers keen to join the sport.

“A few rookies, we think,” Mello said. “But not all confirmed yet.”

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Published October 23, 2021 at 7:50 am (Updated October 23, 2021 at 7:50 am)

Colin Mello hopes to soon get green light for harness racing

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