Backing the right horse

Backing the right horse

MASERU – Lesotho Post Bank has pledged to take ownership of the annual Prince Lerotholi Horse Race after being impressed by last Saturday’s race at the Pope’s Podium.

The move to the Pope’s Podium marked the first time the annual race was held in Maseru and it was a roaring success as hundreds braved the heat to cheer the race which honours His Royal Highness Prince Lerotholi Seeiso.
Amongst those captivated was Lesotho Post Bank’s head of marketing, Tlali Kele, who said Lesotho Post Bank will look to adopt the competition fully going forward.

This year sponsorship duties were split between Lesotho Post Bank and Matekane Group of Companies – which each put in M20 000 – as well as Lesotho Flour Mills which put up 25 bags of Makhulo Farm Feed for race winners.

That will change if Lesotho Post Bank gets their way.
“We have discussed this as a bank and said because this is entirely Basotho’s sport it deserves our full sponsorship since we are entirely a Basotho bank,” Kele said.

“We will increase our sponsorship next year so that we make the competition our own,” he continued, adding Lesotho Post Bank was also impressed with last year’s race in Semonkong when it came on board as a sponsor for the first time.

News of Lesotho Post Bank’s affection will come as a boost for the Prince Lerotholi Horse Race which was postponed by a week as it waited for confirmation of sponsors.
Lesotho Equestrian Association president Thabo Mofosi said organisers had to wait for MGC to accept a request to back the event this year.
“The race was scheduled to be held on the 16th (of) November but things did not go accordingly and we had to hold the race this (past) Saturday,” Mofosi said.

“This year’s attendance deteriorated due to the postponement that was caused because we were in negotiations with sponsors. However, we are grateful MGC was able to come to terms with us and that the race is a success.”

Credit also has to go to stellar stallion Khang ea Matšekha whose prowess captivated the crowd and left competitors eating dust from its hooves.
Khang, a praise name meaning dispute or quarrel, sprung to victory and the M2 400 first prize in the Triple A main event beating out nine other horses.
A full four paces behind Khang was second-placed Manyampela which scooped M1 600.

It means the four-year old Khang, with its unmistakable lion-yellow colour, remains undefeated in over two years of competition.
Its jockey, 22-year-old Lefu Masitsa from Matšekheng in Berea, was delighted his hard work paid off.
“I train three times a week so that I can be the best in the races,” Masitsa told thepost following the race.

“My horse was also fit to take part in the race,” he added.
“I started racing when I was 18 and this is my fourth year competing. Khang is a very good friend that I trust because he has never disappointed me as long as he is taken care of and treated like our children.”
The Prince Lerotholi Horse Race was again divided into six categories: the Triple Race A, Triple Race B, Triple Race C, Flat Race Top Division, Flat Race Bottom Division and the Flat Race Maiden Plate.

By the time festivities got underway, the scorching summer sun was hovering above and dust swirled everywhere as it erupted from the ground as the horses galloped.
The hot dusty mist didn’t deter spectators however as they cheered their favourite horses and recited praises as they passed by.

Most attention, of course, was on Khang and one elderly man could not stop repeating the horse’s name shouting “Khang! Khang! Khang! Khang!” over and over.
The thrilled fan also eloquently recited a praise poem in Sesotho: Ntho ena ke khang ea Matšekha, ea siea lipere le banna Sethaleng sa Mopapa, ea ba siea ka har’a marole – this thing is a quarrel among the Matšekha, it left horses and men at the Pope’s Monument, leaving them in the cloudy dust – as Khang frolicked in victory.

The riveting and melodic scene was completed by young men and women who clapped hands and cheered throughout.
It was a fitting welcome to Maseru for Prince Lerotholi’s race.
“We are very grateful to have gathered here today to support Basotho and in particular, the equestrians who raced today,” Lesotho Post Bank’s marketing team said as the dust settled.
It was also a day to remember for Khang who ended any disputes over who rules as Lesotho’s best racehorse.

Mpinane Moshoeshoe


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