More than 2000 people left their warm blankets to witness Ngomsakaziwa from Centane rewriting history after she took the crown from celebrated Andazi at Ngumbela July at the Bomela Ngumbela’s Grounds in Dutywa over the weekend.
Ngomsakaziwa made a name for herself as she flew past the celebrity horse Andazi who came into the racing grounds with a convoy of cars like a true champion as she was never beaten before.
There were two groups competing for a share in the R150000 prize-money which were for the thoroughbreds and the indigenous Xhosa horses, also known as Onoqala, vying for the top position.
The first 800 metres race was won by Bhutiza a horse from King William’s Town, Kuyathethwangawe from Centane came second, and Mnqamlezweni from Dutywa came third.
In the Onoqala category, Sphithipithi from kuQumbu won the lazy race, Kholombiya from Mthatha took the second spot and Nkanunu from Qumbu was the last horse to cross the finish-line.
Thoroughbreds category which was 1000 metres was won by Ngomsakaziwa from Centane. She made history after she snatched the crown from Andazi who has enjoyed a celebrity status in the former Transkei horse-racing community.
Andazi, with R140000 estimated winnings in her career, lost to a newcomer Ngomsakaziwa. Her owner and trainer George Gibson was over the moon with the accomplishment.
Gibson said they have not rested for more than three months preparing the horses.
“It’s been months leading up to this very moment and I won’t lie it’s my first time beating Andazi with Ngomsakaziwa and what a good feeling it is,” said Gibson.
He also voiced his concerns with the last race they participated in saying “we never finished that race and the organisers are now running around the bush.
“We don’t blame Mr Ngumbela because we know he gives organisers the funds and it’s them who make decisions. He has been too good to us,” added Gibson.
The third race was won by another Gibson’s horse Kugqityiwe from King William’s Town, underdog Ngomsakaziwa came second and the crowd’s favourite Andazi came at number three.
Founder of the event, Advocate Mthetheleli Ngumbela lauded sport, recreation, arts and culture MEC Pemmy Majodina for gracing the event even though she was injured in a recent car accident.
“ [If] the [ANC] Women’s League could push for her to be the first female minister of sport a lot of things would come right,” he said.
Ngumbela said government should allocate R5-billion to sports and not the R1-billion because it’s not enough for rural and urban areas.
“We also need qualified coaches to train our talent, if it’s rugby they [government] should take former Springboks to coach our [players].
“And if they continue to give jobs to friends there won’t be progress,” he said.
Majodina said what was most important about the event was the development of the rural sport “as the Eastern Cape has more than 3000 horses participating in races.
“As the department we have launched the Rural Horse-Racing as it is part of the indigenous games.
“All of these events are building up towards the Berlin November Traditional Horse-racing where we are putting in R1.8-million,” she said. The MEC applauded Ngumbela’s efforts in developing sports in rural areas.