A whooping P100, 000 prize money will be on offer in the inaugural equestrian sport event dubbed Gabs July.
The competition will be held at the Sebele Horse Race Track on July 4.
The winner of the main event, the 120km endurance race will pocket the six-figure prize, the highest in local horse racing.
Speaking at the launch in Gaborone on Thursday, Gabs July director, Wiseman Ben said they are targeting to register more than 120 horses that will compete in more than 10 races on the day.
He said the carnival style event aims to attract more than 20, 000 local and international spectators and showcasing the various disciplines of horsemanship.
“Gabs July Derby is well placed to accommodate a not so popular discipline in Botswana called endurance race.
The Derby will feature a 120km endurance race for professional riders and also an 80km race for novice riders,” he said.
“This structure will see more novice riders graduate to professional riders every year. The month of July remains popular with races because of its cooler temperatures that offer the endurance racers a conducive environment for racing.”
For his part, Gaborone deputy mayor, Lotty Manyapetsa lauded the organisers for helping promote sports tourism.
He said sport has the ability to create jobs while at the same time helping promote tourism in the city. “Gabs July is a great platform to showcase Gaborone as a sport entertainment destination. I am glad to learn that Gabs July Derby is an annual event.
That means Gaborone will be in the horse lovers’ travel plans
When horse lovers visit Gaborone, they will need accommodation, they will need transportation, they will shop and dine and visit other interesting places that Gaborone has to offer.
And there is more, by design, travellers explore further than a place of an event and we all know that Botswana shall deliver to their expectations as a world-renowned tourism destination boosting magical flora and fauna,” Manyepetsa said.
The chairperson of Horse Society of Botswana, Ben Maekop said the event would help promote the sport in the urban areas and applauded organisers for the initiative.
“Our vision is to see Botswana’s Equestrian Athletes represented at international events by competent sportspersons.
In this quest, we aim to take equestrian sport to the people of Botswana by the establishment of an independent National Equestrian Facility, where we can offer appropriate structured training programmes at an acceptable cost and by supporting as many training clinics and competitions as we can. We are happy to support Gabs July and we wish to see the race delivered on an annual basis as planned,” he said.
Tickets of the race will be sold at minimum of P200 while the most expensive costs P1, 500.
The tickets are prized according to different spectators zones that are divided in the form of lounges, picnic area and public stands.