Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sanlucar beaches set to welcome world's finest thoroughbreds

Sanlúcar de Barrameda 2005 horse races • Organisers trace historic Gib connections with event

Sanlucar de Barrameda horse races start from August 1st 2005The jockeys and thoroughbred mounts taking part in the 160th edition of the internationally renowned programme of races in the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz), will take to the paddock on August 1st-3rd in the opening of the two competitive cycles that make up the competition.

The races will culminate with a second series from the 16th-18th later in the month.

The organising committee this week launched the 2005 poster with a special invitation extended to Gibraltar’s authorities, business community and horse racing fans in recognition of the strong horse-racing tradition that existed on the Rock at the turn of the 20th century.

This year the event, which is held in a natural setting with the breathtaking backdrop provided by the Parque Doñana nature reserve, promises to be an even bigger and more enthralling affair than ever before, and is certain to attract record-breaking crowds lining the beach to watch the exciting spectacle.

Last year attendances at what has become a sporting tradition in its own right and is firmly established in Spain’s official racing calendar, averaged 60,000 per race, attracting widespread media interest.

Historical Notes

Historians have traced how it was not only 19th century British travel-writers that were fascinated and drawn to this part of the world, chronicling their experiences of contemporary rural Spain in a profusion of literary texts.

The famous manzanilla wine that was already being produced while Napoleon was laying siege on Cádiz, and the horse races are defining characteristics of Sanlúcar de Barrameda that these authors have paid tribute to in their observations.

Features that turned Sanlúcar from sleepy rural village to the fashionable seaside resort that was later to exercise an irresistible pull on Spain’s wealthy classes in the early 20th century.

Horse racing in southern Spain was developed with the notable influence of orthodox British equestrian culture, that attracted an elite membership of aristocrats and noblemen to the sport.

The jockey clubs established in Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Puerto de Santa Maria in the 1840’s followed rules and regulations that were similar to those already applied in Britain’s most famous racecourses.

Through the years the merger of these original elite clubs with more rank and file horse-racing associations such as the “Sociedad de Carreras de Caballos de Sanlucar de Barrameda”, widened the popular appeal and guaranteed the long term evolution of the races into modern times.

Other than in the rules and in the sharing of knowledge and enthusiasm, Britain’s contribution to the progression and consolidation of the sport was also recorded in an Englishman’s design of the first ever hippodrome constructed in Jerez in 1868, and in a generous sprinkling of English words that are still to be found in Spanish horse-racing terminology. For example “box”, “chance”, “paddock”, “foal”, “gentlemen”, “handicap”, “jockey”, “turf”, and “stud book.”

Gibraltar Links

It is no coincidence that in the 1920’s the “Sociedad de Carreras de Caballos de Andalucia” the organising body of the races at the time, had its headquarters at number 4 College Lane in Gibraltar.

Additionally, and in parallel to Gibraltar’s own racecourse at the airfield, the nearby town of Campamento organised its programme of events which attracted the participation of British and Gibraltarian stables with gentlemen jockeys who were usually serving British officers and a few high ranking figures based on the Rock.

A quick glance at some of the posters printed in the early days also reveals notable Gibraltarian connections.

In January 1910 the Andalusian championships were held under the auspices of two judges Messrs Joseph A Patron, who was also handicapper and honorary secretary, and Horace P Parodi. The starter was a Mr Joseph Manasco while Messrs A C Baca and William Isola were the Clerks of the Scales.

The list of stewards included a Mr Alexander Rugeroni and a Manuel Murto. All of them with the term esquire attached at the end of their surnames.

The honorary president of the event was Prince Don Carlos de Borbon, and the honorary vice-presidents were the Governor of Algeciras and “the Consul for Spain at Gibraltar.”

One of the trophies competed for was the Copa Gibraltar, and a jockey by the name of Juan Attias riding a horse named ‘Adler,’ chose the colours of the Union Jack for his uniform.

Related Links:

Sanlúcar de Barrameda Horse Races - Cadiz
Sanlúcar Online
Parque Doñana Nature Reserve

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