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Bloem To Host First Ever Horse Race

The inaugural Grande Thabure Traditional Horse Racing Extravaganza was launched at the Imperial Jaguar in Bloemfontein yesterday, in partnership with Mangaung Metro Municipality.

The race will take place on November 2 at the Bloemfontein Equestrian Centre.

The event is poised to be a flagship traditional horse racing and lifestyle event in the province and the country’s central region, with lots of scintillating attractions awaiting revellers.

Thabure was the name of the white horse of Chief Lerotholi, a grandson of King Moshoeshoe, the iconic founder and protector of the Basotho nation.

Dubbed ‘The Grande Thabure’, spectators and participants alike are in for an entertainment fiesta ranging from horse racing, red carpet treatment with national celebrities and the media, themed fashion, craft stalls, music and dance stage, food court and a children’s village.

The Grande Thabure Horse Race Competition will not only position Bloemfontein as one of the top equestrian sporting cities in the country, but also create opportunities for even rural horse breeding folks in the Free State.

With more than 100 000 horses in the province and horse racing increasing in popularity, there is a strong demand for facilities, training and development and the positioning pockets of the province as viable agri-tourism destinations offering different experiences to meet the needs of a discerning tourist.

Organisers said the event will bring into sharp focus the equine agri-tourism which has become a big part of agri-tourism experiences. Equine tourism is travel inspired by the horse, for recreation, leisure, and business, encompassing all activity that has the horse as its focus.

They said Grand Thabure is curated in association with the established premier traditional horse racing event in the Eastern Cape known as Berlin November. The Berlin November is a provincial signature event accredited by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency.

The platform does not only give back to horse owners and jockeys but also promotes social cohesion and seeks to combat irresponsible and problem gambling.

Luthando Bara and Maleshoane Dichabe, organisers of the Grande Thabure said that it’s long overdue for Bloemfontein to have a similar event as the Durban July and the one taking place in Cape Town.

They noted with the rich history of the Basotho heritage in the Free State, it makes more sense to bring the horse racing event to the province.

“With the rich culture of the Basotho heritage and the significance of the horse in their culture, the event will not only bring entertainment to the area, but it will also attract tourists from across the country and boost the economy,” added the organisers.  

Horse owners and artists stand to win a host of prizes on the day of the race.

The final sponsorship list will be revealed at the end of this month. 

By: Neo Ntsele