The Gold Cup has arrived.
Just after 3:45 p.m. this evening, British Airways flight 2155 under the command of Captain Paul Owens touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
On board was the sleek looking Gold Cup, which will be competed for on March 8 at the Garrison Savannah.
A brief arrival ceremony was then held in the Grace Adams Suite where addresses were made by Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, Barbados Turf Club director and first vice-president Stephen Walcott, general manager of Sandy Lane Randall Wilkie and Captain Paul Owens.
Minister Lashley expressed sincere thanks to Sandy Lane for their eighteen consecutive years of hosting the event, which has been in existence for 33 years.
Speaking to the importance of the race, he said that he had just excused himself from a Cabinet meeting to be present. In congratulating Sandy Lane he spoke of the tremendous excitement it created locally, but more importantly, he added, the international marketing which it provided for Barbados. He also stressed that the Gold Cup generated foreign exchange.
The link between culture and sports was not forgotten, and he praised the sponsors who had transformed the euphoria of a top class horse race into a “festival not to be missed”.
He opined that the advent of night racing would be desirable and pledged Government’s continued support for the sport of kings.
Captain Adams in addressing the gathering informed that he had been coming to Barbados for 24 years. He referred to Barbados as the “premier island in the Caribbean”. He also said that the Gold Cup race day was one of the biggest sporting events in Barbados, and he would prefer being in the island anytime, than being home to watch any other of similar vintage.
General Manager of Sandy Lane, Randall Wilkie, in accepting the numerous accolades, thanked British Airways for their safe delivery of the Gold Cup over the years and also informed of their continued desire to support tourism and enhance Barbados’ tourism product. – David Morris