Sun | Apr 21, 2019

Rum Fire ignites Jamaica Oaks

Published:Wednesday | April 17, 2019 | 12:18 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
From left: Lorna Gooden, incoming general manager, Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL); Dennis Chung, interim chief executive officer, SVREL; Christopher Armond, director of racing, SRVREL; Ruth Hussey; Christelle Harris, director, Hampden Estate; and Hall of Fame jockey Charles Hussey at the Launch of the 2019 Hilma Veira Jamaica Oaks raceday, scheduled for Saturday, May 4, at Caymanas Park. The press launch took place at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston yesterday.
From left: Lorna Gooden, incoming general manager, Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL); Dennis Chung, interim chief executive officer, SVREL; Christopher Armond, director of racing, SRVREL; Ruth Hussey; Christelle Harris, director, Hampden Estate; and Hall of Fame jockey Charles Hussey at the Launch of the 2019 Hilma Veira Jamaica Oaks raceday, scheduled for Saturday, May 4, at Caymanas Park. The press launch took place at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston yesterday.

Christelle Harris, director of Hampden Estate, says that the Hussey family’s years of association with horse racing give them a genuine understanding of the passion local fans have for the sport and that she believes that partnering with Supreme Ventures Racings Entertainment Limited (SVREL) to host the Jamaica Oaks gives them a great opportunity to ignite that passion.

Rum Fire, the new sponsor of the Jamaica Oaks, which is distilled by Hampden Estate, which is owned by the Husseys and Harris (who is also a member of the family), expects a lot from the partnership and is looking forward to the 2019 Hilma Veira Jamaica Oaks, which was launched at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel yesterday.

The raceday will be on Saturday, May 4, at Caymanas Park.

“It is a natural fit for us. It (racing) is in our blood; the Hussey-owned Rum Fire and the Hampden Estate understand the passion that is racing, not just how we feel about it. I have been going to the track since I was six years old, and I understand the passion people have for racing and how to connect with the audience, and I am looking forward to Rum Fire firing up things at the track,” Harris said.

“We (Husseys) have [had] many associations pre this Jamaica Oaks racing, and we wanted to identify a sport in Jamaica [through which] we could create a relationship with our audience, and because we had the pre-existing relationship with racing, it felt right and the racing audience is already familiar with Rum Fire, so it makes sense to give, enjoy, win and celebrate life, and we (Rum Fire) are there to enhance the experience,” she added.

The 80th running of the prestigious three-year-old fillies race, which will be run over 2,000 metres (10 furlongs) is sponsored to a tune of $3 million, which includes $1 million from the Rum Fire brand.

The race, which will see all contestants carrying 57kg, or 126lb, will feature top local fillies, including the top four finishers in the 2019 Jamaica 1000 Guineas, I AM DI ONE, LADY BLUE, CASUAL DRINK and ENVISAGED.

Other top contenders include PRINCESS ANNIE, PRINCESS AVA, PRINCESS LAUREN, MY LITTLE PRINCESS, CASE CLOSED, AWESOME MIRACLE, SI MI NOW, WILL TO LIVE, SOUL CURE, UNKNOWN SOLDIER and BLACK RIVER.

Meanwhile, director of racing at SVREL, Chris Hammond, said filly races like the Oaks continue to play an important role in giving the female breed value in a colt-dominated industry.

“In most sports, the male is the dominant species, although in horse racing, you do have occasions when a filly rises to the top and is better than the colts. But the real reasons why these races are written on the racing calendar, like the filly (1000) Guineas and the Oaks, it gives the female species more value when it is being sold in an auction,” said Hammond.

“If you didn’t have those races and the colts continue to be dominant, then the fillies would fetch no price. You can’t predict when you breed horses if you are going to get a colt or a filly, so it gives importance to the fillies so that their price in a sale ring will be up,” he reasoned.